Ranjit Ray, Ratna Ray, Arnab Basu and Yie-Hwa Chang
Liver fibrosis is a central feature of the majority of chronic liver injuries caused by metabolic, genetic, viral, and cholestatic diseases in humans. Fibrosis distorts the liver architecture (cirrhosis) and is associated with a marked disturbance of liver function that results in significant morbidity and mortality. Hepatic stellate cells (HSC), which compose about 15 percent of the total number of resident liver cells, are the main hepatic cell type involved in the development of liver fibrosis following injury. Compositions and methods are described for selectively inhibiting the proliferation of stellate cells responsible for the development of fibrosis in the liver following injury. A novel protein present in conditioned media from immortalized hepatocytes appears to induce apoptosis and selectively kill liver stellate cells.