During chronic liver injury, hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are activated and proliferate, which causes excessive extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition, leading to scar formation and fibrosis. Medicinal plants are gaining popularity as antifibrotic agents, and are often safe, cost-effective, and versatile. This review aims to describe the protective role and mechanisms of medicinal plants in the inhibition of HSC activation and ECM deposition during the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis. A systematic literature review on the anti-fibrotic mechanisms of hepatoprotective plants was performed in PubMed, which yielded articles about twelve relevant plants. Many of these plants act via disruption of the transforming growth factor beta 1 signaling pathway, possibly through reduction in oxidative stress. This reduction could explain the inhibition of HSC activation and reduction in ECM deposition. Medicinal plants could be a source of anti-liver fibrosis compounds.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by: CONACYT for the PhD student grant. This work was partially funded by endowments from Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (cat-134) and the Zambrano–Hellion Foundation.
© 2014 Duval et al.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Complementary and alternative medicine