Future therapy of portal hypertension in liver cirrhosis - a guess

F1000Prime Rep. 2014 Oct 1;6:95. doi: 10.12703/P6-95. eCollection 2014.


In patients with chronic liver disease, portal hypertension is driven by progressive fibrosis and intrahepatic vasoconstriction. Interruption of the initiating and perpetuating etiology-mostly leading to necroinflammation-is possible for several underlying causes, such as autoimmune hepatitis, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, and most recently hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Thus, in the long run, lifestyle-related liver damage due to chronic alcoholism or morbid obesity will remain the main factor leading to portal hypertension. Both causes are probably more easily countered by socioeconomic measures than by individual approaches. If chronic liver injury supporting fibrogenesis and portal hypertension cannot be interrupted, a wide variety of tools are available to modulate and reduce intrahepatic resistance and therewith portal hypertension. Many of these have been evaluated in animal models. Also, some well-established drugs, which are used in humans for other indications (for example, statins), are promising if applied early and concomitantly to standard therapy. In the future, more individually tailored strategies must also be considered in line with the spectrum of portal hypertensive complications and risk factors defined by high-throughput analysis of the patient's genome, transcriptome, metabolome, or microbiome.

Publication types

  • Review