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Targeting liver myofibroblasts: a novel approach in anti-fibrogenic therapy

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Karen Wallace, Professor Matthew Wright


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Chronic liver disease results in a liver-scarring response termed fibrosis. Excessive scarring leads to cirrhosis, which is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The only treatment for liver cirrhosis is liver transplantation; therefore, much attention has been directed toward therapies that will slow or reverse fibrosis. Although anti-fibrogenic therapies have been shown to be effective in experimental animal models, licensed therapies have yet to emerge. A potential problem for any anti-fibrogenic therapy in the liver is the existence of the body's major drug metabolising cell (the hepatocyte) adjacent to the primary fibrosis-causing cell, the myofibroblast. This article reviews the development of a human recombinant single-chain antibody (scAb) that binds to the surface of myofibroblasts. This antibody binds specifically to myofibroblasts in fibrotic mouse livers. When conjugated with a compound that stimulates myofibroblast apoptosis, the antibody directs the specific apoptosis of myofibroblasts with greater specificity and efficacy than the free compound. The antibody also reduces the adverse effect of liver macrophage apoptosis and-in contrast to the free compound-reversed fibrosis in the sustained injury model used. These data suggest that specifically stimulating the apoptosis of liver myofibroblasts using a targeting antibody has potential in the treatment of liver fibrosis. © 2008 Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Douglass A, Wallace K, Koruth M, Barelle C, Porter AJ, Wright MC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hepatology International

Year: 2008

Volume: 2

Issue: 4

Pages: 405-415

ISSN (print): 1936-0533

ISSN (electronic): 1936-0541

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s12072-008-9093-y


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