Hepatic stellate cells—the pericytes in the liver

  • Claus HellerbrandEmail author
Invited Review


Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are pericytes of liver in the space between parenchymal cells and sinusoidal endothelial cells of the hepatic lobule. HSCs comprise specialized functions such as vitamin A storage, hemodynamic functions, support of liver regeneration, and immunoregulation. In pathological conditions, HSCs transform to an activated myofibroblasts-like phenotype, start to proliferate, and de novo express several proinflammatory and profibrogenic genes. These processes are particularly important in the development of cirrhosis, portal hypertension, and hepatocellular cancer. This review highlights recent findings in understanding the biology of HSCs and discusses the physiological functions of HSCs and the role of activated HSCs in pathophysiology and disease.


Hepatic stellate cell Myofibroblast Pericyte Fibrosis Immunoregulation Vasoregulation Hepatocellular cancer 



Alpha-smooth muscle actin


Extracellular matrix


Hepatic stellate cells


Hepatocellular carcinoma




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine IUniversity Hospital RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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