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Dig Dis Sci. 2011 Feb;56(2):564-8. doi: 10.1007/s10620-010-1507-8. Epub 2010 Dec 7.

The effects of angiotensin blocking agents on the progression of liver fibrosis in the HALT-C Trial cohort.

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



Therapies that can slow the progression of liver fibrosis in chronic liver disease are needed. Evidence suggests that the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) contributes to inflammation and fibrosis in chronic liver disease. Both animal and limited human studies have shown that RAS inhibition with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin receptor-1 [AT-1] blockers (ARBs) has antifibrogenic properties.


In this study, we evaluated the effects of continuous ACEi/ARB use for 3.5 years on histological liver fibrosis progression in the HALT-C Trial cohort.


In the HALT-C Trial, subjects with chronic hepatitis C and advanced hepatic fibrosis (Ishak stage ≥3) underwent serial liver biopsies at baseline, 1.5 years, and 3.5 years after randomization. The primary outcome was a ≥2-point increase in Ishak fibrosis score in at least one of the two serial biopsies. Sixty-six subjects were continuously taking ACEi/ARBs over the observation period, 126 were taking other antihypertensive medications, and 343 subjects took no antihypertensive medications.


The three groups were similar in baseline fibrosis scores, and the two groups being treated with antihypertensives were taking a similar number of antihypertensive medications. Fibrosis progression occurred in 33.3% of the ACEi/ARB group, 32.5% of the other antihypertensive medications group, and in 25.7% of subjects taking no antihypertensive medications. No significant associations between ≥2-point increases in fibrosis scores and continuous ACEi/ARB use were apparent at either 1.5 or 3.5 years in diabetes-adjusted and unadjusted odds ratios.


ACEi/ARB therapy did not retard the progression of hepatic fibrosis.

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