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Pharmacol Ther. 1995 May;66(2):387-412.

Novel insights into the biology and physiology of the Ito cell.

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  • 1Istituto di Medicina Interna-Centro Interuniversitario di Fisiopatologia Epatica, Universit√† di Firenze, Firenze, Italy.


Ito cells, perisinusoidal mesenchymal elements with possible pericytic functions within the liver, recently have been shown to play multiple physiological and pathophysiological roles. In particular, several in vivo and in vitro studies have clearly indicated that Ito cells play a relevant role in the progression of liver fibrogenesis. More recently, attention has been focussed on the mechanisms leading to Ito cell activation, proliferation and synthesis of extracellular matrix components. Among other soluble factors potentially involved in these processes, transforming growth factor-beta 1 and platelet-derived growth factor have been shown to act in a paracrine, and possibly autocrine, fashion on Ito cells, thus perpetuating their activated state. Finally, other studies have shown that Ito cells could play an active role in chronic liver tissue inflammation by promoting chemotaxis of infiltrating inflammatory cells.

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