A potential therapeutic agent for hepatic fibrosis

Aug 25, 2009

Accumulating evidence suggests that connective tissue growth factor (CCN2) plays a central role in fibrotic conditions in many organ systems. Fibrosis is a scarring condition that is characterized by excessive collagen production that impedes normal cell function and can cause organ dysfunction and failure. A hallmark of fibrosing injury in the liver is the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) which become highly proliferative, synthesize increased levels of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and CCN2, and produce excessive amounts of collagen. Previous studies have not investigated the effect of CCN2 antagonism in HSCs of human origin.

A research team led by Dr. David Brigstock addresses this question. Their work will be published on August 14, 2009 in World Journal of Gastroenterology.

By designing a novel antisense inhibitor that blocked CCN2 mRNA transcription and protein production, the investigators showed that in activated human HSCs, basal or TGF-β1-induced transcription and production of I could be reduced, and the ability of the cells to actively divide was curtailed. The innovative features of this study involve the use of human HSCs and the delivery of the antisense molecule in the form of a hammerhead ribozyme, which has a more efficient blocking action than some other conventional antisense methods. The data show that the anti-fibrotic properties of CCN2 hammerhead ribozyme are to the result of a reduction of collagen production and cell proliferation.

The results suggest that CCN2 hammerhead ribozyme has utility as a therapeutic agent for treating hepatic in vitro. This is important as therapy for liver fibrosis is currently lacking despite the fact that millions of individuals around the world suffer from liver fibrosis caused by hepatitis, alcohol consumption, and other types of chronic liver injury.

More information: Gao R, Brigstock D. growth factor hammerhead ribozyme attenuates human hepatic stellate cell function. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(30): 3807-3813; http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/15/3807.asp

Source: World Journal of Gastroenterology (news : web)

Explore further: Man diagnosed with Lassa fever dies in US after Liberia trip

Related Stories

Scientists identify novel way to prevent cardiac fibrosis

Apr 22, 2008

In a study that points to a new strategy for preventing or possibly reversing fibrosis – the scarring that can lead to organ and tissue damage – researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine ...

Recommended for you

Aspirin to improve leg ulcers

21 hours ago

Researchers are looking at whether aspirin can improve the healing rates of leg ulcers in older adults.

Sierra Leone marks grim Ebola anniversary

May 25, 2015

On May 24 last year a pregnant woman and an older housewife staggered into Kenema hospital in eastern Sierra Leone and were diagnosed within a day as the country's first Ebola cases.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.