Abstract

Fibrosis results from a disordered wound healing response within the liver with activated hepatic stellate cells laying down dense, collagen-rich extracellular matrix that eventually restricts liver hepatic synthetic function and causes increased sinusoidal resistance. The end result of progressive fibrosis, cirrhosis, is associated with significant morbidity and mortality as well as tremendous economic burden. Fibrosis can be conceptualized as an aberrant wound healing response analogous to a chronic ankle sprain that is driven by chronic liver injury commonly over decades. Two unique aspects of hepatic fibrosis – the chronic nature of insult required and the liver’s unique ability to regenerate – give an opportunity for pharmacologic intervention to stop or slow the pace of fibrosis in patients early in the course of their liver disease. Two potential biologic mechanisms link together hemostasis and fibrosis: focal parenchymal extinction and direct stellate cell activation by thrombin and Factor Xa. Available translational research further supports the role of thrombosis in fibrosis. In this review, we will summarize what is known about the convergence of hemostatic changes and hepatic fibrosis in chronic liver disease and present current preclinical and clinical data exploring the relationship between the two. We will also present clinical trial data that underscores the potential use of anticoagulant therapy as an antifibrotic factor in liver disease.

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