Zinc in Liver Fibrosis

Kurt Grüngreiff, Thomas Gottstein, Dirk Reinhold
2019 OBM Hepatology and Gastroenterology  
Acute and in particular chronic liver disease of viral, alcoholic and non-alcoholic genesis is a large, often unnoticed health hazard around the world. It can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) during the course of decades. Liver fibrosis, conversion of functional parenchyma to connective tissue (scar tissue) as a consequence of chronic liver damage, is a connecting pathogenic process in all chronic liver diseases. Zinc is an essential micronutrient in human health, playing a
more » ... undamental role in cellular metabolism, acting mostly through binding in a wide range of proteins and thus affecting a broad spectrum of biological processes. Thus, the liver is essential for zinc homeostasis of the human body. Zinc deficiency leads to the impairment of many hepatic functions. Liver diseases can alter zinc levels and, in turn, may be influenced by zinc deficiency. In spite of the vast increase in knowledge about the fibrotic wound healing process on both cellular and molecular levels, apoptotic signaling, epigenetic phenomena, and usage of stem cells, there is no effective anti-fibrotic medicine so far for use in humans. The diverse hepatoprotective effects of zinc documented in many experimental studies and initial clinical pilot projects should be reason enough to include zinc as a component in future studies on liver fibrosis, especially non-
doi:10.21926/obm.hg.1902023 fatcat:bby2ajdosbhflgntnmhehotipm