Autophagy: A new therapeutic target for liver fibrosis

World J Hepatol. 2015 Aug 8;7(16):1982-6. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v7.i16.1982.


Hepatic fibrosis is a wound-healing response to liver injury and the result of imbalance of extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation and degradation. The relentless production and progressive accumulation of ECM can lead to end-stage liver disease. Although significant progress has been achieved in elucidating the mechanisms of fibrogenesis, effective anti-fibrotic strategies are still lacking. Autophagy is an intracellular process of self-digestion of defective organelles to provide material recycling or energy for cell survival. Autophagy has been implicated in the pathophysiology of many human disorders including hepatic fibrosis. However, the exact relationships between autophagy and hepatic fibrosis are not totally clear and need further investigations. A new therapeutic target for liver fibrosis could be developed with a better understanding of autophagy.

Keywords: Antifibrotic target; Autophagy; Hepatic stellate cells; Liver fibrosis.