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Liver Fibrosis and Therapeutic Strategies: The Goal for Improving Metabolism

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Purpose of Review: This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and the hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated liver fibrosis, and provides insight into the role of dysmetabolism in hepatic fibrogenesis. Clinical relevance of drugs correcting these metabolic disturbances in the reversion of liver fibrosis will also be discussed.

Recent Findings: Liver fibrosis affects more than ten millions of people worldwide and may lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and death. Recent epidemiological data indicate that the incidence of liver fibrosis is expected to triple during the next 10 to 15 years as a result of the HCV infection and NAFLD escalation. In accordance with the modern view of liver fibrogenesis, the pathways involved in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis appear to be broadly similar regardless of the etiology.

Summary: Some features of metabolic syndrome, including obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes represent a strong risk factor in development and progression of hepatic fibrosis. However, whatever the cause, fibrosis culminates in cirrhosis and results in liver failure, thus, a potent anti-fibrotic therapy is urgently needed to reverse scarring and eliminate progression to cirrhosis.

Keywords: HCV; hepatic fibrosis; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-06-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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