Hepatic fibrosis is the most common pathological feature of most chronic liver diseases, and its continuous deterioration gradually develops into liver cirrhosis and eventually leads to liver cancer. At present, there are many kinds of drugs used to treat liver fibrosis. However, Western drugs tend to only target single genes/proteins and induce many adverse reactions. Most of the mechanisms and active ingredients of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are not clear, and there is a lack of unified diagnosis and treatment standards. Natural products, which are characterized by structural diversity, low toxicity, and origination from a wide range of sources, have unique advantages and great potential in anti-liver fibrosis. This article summarizes the work done over the previous decade, on the active ingredients in natural products that are reported to have anti-hepatic fibrosis effects. The effective anti-hepatic fibrosis ingredients identified can be generally divided into flavonoids, saponins, polysaccharides and alkaloids. Mechanisms of anti-liver fibrosis include inhibition of liver inflammation, anti-lipid peroxidation injury, inhibition of the activation and proliferation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), modulation of the synthesis and secretion of pro-fibrosis factors, and regulation of the synthesis and degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM). This review provides suggestions for the development of anti-hepatic fibrosis drugs.
Keywords: Anti-hepatic fibrosis; HSC; Mechanism; Natural product; Research progress.
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