Pancreatic fibrosis is the main pathologic characteristic in chronic pancreatitis (CP), a common disease that arises from surgery. Pancreatitis is caused by various etiologies, but the mechanism of fibrosis is not completely understood. Existing clinical approaches mainly focus on mitigating the symptoms and therefore do not cure the phenomena. In recent years, there has been a heightened interest in the use of Chinese herbal medicine (CHMs) in the prevention and cure of CP as expressed by increasing numbers of clinical and experimental research. Despite early cell culture and animal models, CHMs are able to interact with plenty of molecular targets involved in the pathogenesis of pancreatic fibrosis mostly via the TGF- /Smads pathway; however, integrated and up-to-date communication in this domain is unavailable. This review focuses on the research progress of CHMs against pancreatic fibrosis due to CP in vitro and in vivo and summarizes the potential mechanisms. We also outlined the toxicology of some CHMs for fibrosis treatment in order to provide a fuller understanding of drug safety. This review may provide reference for further innovative drug research and the future development of treatments for CP with pancreatic fibrosis.
Keywords: Chinese Herbal Medicines; Chronic Pancreatitis; Mechanism; Natural Products; Pancreatic Fibrosis; Review.