Liver fibrosis is a pathological condition characterized by the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, including collagen, elastin and laminin. The accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins results from repeated exposure to pathological stimuli – leading to an increased production and decreased degradation of ECM. Left untreated, fibrosis may develop into cirrhosis which can result in liver failure and death. Liver cirrhosis is currently the fourth most common cause of death in europe.

The scientific consensus points clearly towards the reversability of liver fibrosis, however no therapies have been approved to date – and thus it is of vital importance that realistic in-vitro models are available to assist in the development process.

Current fibrosis models

Current models of liver fibrosis include monolayers of cultured rodent or human cells, which are activated via profibrotic cytokines. Such models fail to mimic the full complexity of in-vivo liver tissue due to their 2D nature and the lack of other cell types included. 

Hepapredicts 3D spheroid fibrosis model

The 3D spheroid incorporates both PHHs and NPCs, thus presenting an accurate portrayal of in-vivo liver tissue. Given that the incorporated cells maintain their metabolic profiles for longer segments of time in comparison to 2D cultures, a disease model of liver fibrosis can be represented in the 3D spheroid system – funtioning as a unique tool for antifibrotic drug screening.