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Angiogenesis in chronic viral hepatitis

Author(s): Michał Kukla | Andrzej Gabriel | Marek Waluga | Rafał Bułdak | Włodzimierz Mazur

Journal: Polish Gastroenterology
ISSN 1232-9886

Volume: 16;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 304;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: angiogenesis | liver | viral hepatitis | inflammation | fibrosis | vascular endothelial growth factor | hepatocyte growth factor

It is unresolved whether angiogenesis is merely a homeostatic mechanism aimed at ensuring an adequate oxygen supply or one that exerts an additional pathogenic role leading to liver tissue damage.The development of fibrosis and the accumulation of inflammatory cells which occur in viral hepatitis may increase the resistance of liver tissue to blood flow and oxygen supply. Under these circumstances, an angiogenesis switch occurs leading to an increase in proangiogenic factors which contribute to vascular remodeling and the formation of new vessels. On the other hand, the process of chronic liver wound healing typical of fibrogenic chronic liver diseases is characterized by an over-expression of the same proangiogenic growth factors. The exact role of the virus in the pathogenesis of angiogenesis is also unclear. This review describes the pathogenesis of new blood vessel formation in chronic viral hepatitis and its potential role in disease progression. It also points to angiogenesis as a pos-sible new therapeutic target. Moreover, it summarizes recent findings concerning the pathogenic role, intrahepatic expression, and variations in the circulating levels of proangiogenic factors in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
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