Like other organs, the liver responds to injury (e.g., from chronic alcohol ingestion) with scar formation (i.e., fibrosis). Specialized cells known as stellate cells play a major role in the development of liver fibrosis. Normally these cells serve as important storage depots for vitamin A, but during alcoholic injury, a collection of cellular and molecular mediators cause stellate cells to undergo a process of activation that results in dramatic changes in their structure and function. Activated stellate cells then become primary producers of scar tissue. In turn, accumulated scar provokes a series of events that contributes to deteriorated liver function. An improved understanding of the factors that trigger stellate cell activation has led to new therapeutic approaches for reversing or preventing liver fibrosis more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalAlcohol health and research world
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997


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