Angiogenesis and liver fibrosis

World J Hepatol. 2015 Mar 27;7(3):377-91. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i3.377.


Recent data indicate that hepatic angiogenesis, regardless of the etiology, takes place in chronic liver diseases (CLDs) that are characterized by inflammation and progressive fibrosis. Because anti-angiogenic therapy has been found to be efficient in the prevention of fibrosis in experimental models of CLDs, it is suggested that blocking angiogenesis could be a promising therapeutic option in patients with advanced fibrosis. Consequently, efforts are being directed to revealing the mechanisms involved in angiogenesis during the progression of liver fibrosis. Literature evidences indicate that hepatic angiogenesis and fibrosis are closely related in both clinical and experimental conditions. Hypoxia is a major inducer of angiogenesis together with inflammation and hepatic stellate cells. These profibrogenic cells stand at the intersection between inflammation, angiogenesis and fibrosis and play also a pivotal role in angiogenesis. This review mainly focuses to give a clear view on the relevant features that communicate angiogenesis with progression of fibrosis in CLDs towards the-end point of cirrhosis that may be translated into future therapies. The pathogenesis of hepatic angiogenesis associated with portal hypertension, viral hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and alcoholic liver disease are also discussed to emphasize the various mechanisms involved in angiogenesis during liver fibrogenesis.

Keywords: Angiogenesis; Chronic liver disease; Cirrhosis; Fibrogenesis; Hepatic stellate cells; Hypoxia; Liver fibrosis; Vascular endothelial growth factor.

Publication types

  • Review