Novel Insights on Notch signaling pathways in liver fibrosis

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Liver fibrosis is characterized by an increased and altered deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that make up excessive tissue scarring and promote chronic liver injury. Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) is a pivotal cellular event in the progression of liver fibrosis. However, the mechanisms involved in the development of liver fibrosis are only now beginning to be unveiled. The Notch pathway is a fundamental and highly conserved pathway able to control cell-fate, including cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, regeneration and other cellular activities. Recently, the deregulation of Notch cascade has been found involved in many pathological processes, including liver fibrosis. These data give evidence for a role for Notch signaling in liver fibrosis. In addition, more and more date are available on the role of Notch pathways in the process. Therefore, this review focuses on the current knowledge about the Notch signaling pathway, which dramatically takes part in HSC activation and liver fibrosis, and look ahead on new perspectives of Notch signaling pathway research. Furthermore, we will summarize this new evidence on the different interactions in Notch signaling pathway-regulated liver fibrosis, and support the potentiality of putative biomarkers and unique therapeutic targets.

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