Crosstalk between hepatic stellate cells and surrounding cells in hepatic fibrosis

Int Immunopharmacol. 2021 Oct:99:108051. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2021.108051. Epub 2021 Aug 18.


Hepatic fibrosis represents as a dynamic pathological process characterized by the net accumulation of extracellular matrix in the progression of various chronic liver diseases, including viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, and metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is well-defined to play a central role in the initiation and progression of hepatic fibrosis. However, the activation of HSCs is affected by the complicated microenvironments in liver, which largely attributes to the communication between hepatocytes and multiple tissue-resident cells, including sinusoidal endothelial cells, bile duct epithelial cells, platelets, T cells, B cells, macrophages, natural killer cells, neutrophils, dendritic cells, in the direct or indirect mechanisms. Cellular crosstalk between HSCs and surrounding cells contributes to the activation of HSCs and the progression of hepatic fibrosis. Currently, accumulating evidence have proven the complexity and plasticity of HSCs activation, and further clarification of cellular communication between HSCs and surrounding cells will provide sufficient clue to the development of novel diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategies for hepatic fibrosis.

Keywords: Antifibrotic therapy; Cellular crosstalk; Hepatic fibrosis; Hepatic stellate cells; Liver cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism
  • Cell Communication*
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / immunology*
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / metabolism*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / immunology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism