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Front Physiol. 2016 Feb 16;7:47. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00047. eCollection 2016.

Promising Therapy Candidates for Liver Fibrosis.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Liver Research Center, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical UniversityBeijing, China.
2
Department of Surgery, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto UniversityKyoto, Japan.
3
Department of Surgery, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA; Department of Medicine, University of CaliforniaSan Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
4
Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
5
Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Abstract

Liver fibrosis is a wound-healing process in response to repeated and chronic injury to hepatocytes and/or cholangiocytes. Ongoing hepatocyte apoptosis or necrosis lead to increase in ROS production and decrease in antioxidant activity, which recruits inflammatory cells from the blood and activate hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) changing to myofibroblasts. Injury to cholangiocytes also recruits inflammatory cells to the liver and activates portal fibroblasts in the portal area, which release molecules to activate and amplify cholangiocytes. No matter what origin of myofibroblasts, either HSCs or portal fibroblasts, they share similar characteristics, including being positive for α-smooth muscle actin and producing extracellular matrix. Based on the extensive pathogenesis knowledge of liver fibrosis, therapeutic strategies have been designed to target each step of this process, including hepatocyte apoptosis, cholangiocyte proliferation, inflammation, and activation of myofibroblasts to deposit extracellular matrix, yet the current therapies are still in early-phase clinical development. There is an urgent need to translate the molecular mechanism of liver fibrosis to effective and potent reagents or therapies in human.

KEYWORDS:

cholangiocyte; early-phase clinical trial; hepatocytes; inflammation; liver fibrosis; myofibroblasts

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