Key Event Title
|Level of Biological Organization|
|hepatic stellate cell|
Key Event Components
|hepatic stellate cell activation||hepatic stellate cell||increased|
Key Event Overview
AOPs Including This Key Event
|AOP Name||Role of event in AOP|
|Protein Alkylation to Liver Fibrosis||KeyEvent|
|human and other cells in culture||human and other cells in culture||High||NCBI|
|Rattus norvegicus||Rattus norvegicus||High||NCBI|
Key Event Description
Stellate cell activation means a transdifferentiation from a quiescent vitamin A–storing cell to a proliferative and contractile myofibroblast. Multiple cells and cytokines play a part in the regulation of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation that consists of discrete phenotype responses, mainly proliferation, contractility, fibrogenesis, matrix degradation, chemotaxis, and retinoid loss.
HSCs undergo activation through a two-phase process. The first step, the initiation phase, is triggered by injured hepatocytes, reactive oxygen speecies (ROS) and paracrine stimulation from neighbouring cell types (Kupffer cells (KCs), Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs), and platelets) and make HSCs sensitized to activation by up-regulating various receptors. The perpetuation phase refers to the maintenance of HSC activation, which is a dynamic process including the secretion of autocrine and paracrine growth factors (such as TGF-β1), chemokines, and the up-regulation of collagen synthesis (mainly type I collagen). In response to growth factors (including Platelet-derived Growth Factor (PDGF) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)) HSCs proliferate. Increased contractility (Endothelin-1 and NO are the key opposing counter-regulators that control HSC contractility, in addition to angiotensinogen II, and others) leads to increased portal resistance. Driven by chemoattractants their accumulation in areas of injury is enhanced. TGF-β1 synthesis promotes activation of neighbouring quiescent hepatic stellate cells, whereas the release of HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) stimulates regeneration of adjacent hepatocytes. The release of chemoattractants (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1(MCP-1) and colony-stimulating factors (CSFs)) amplifies inflammation.  Activated HSCs (myofibroblasts) are the primary collagen producing cell, the key cellular mediators of fibrosis and a nexus for converging inflammatory pathways leading to fibrosis. Experimental inhibition of stellate cell activation prevents fibrosis. 
How It Is Measured or Detected
Alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) is a well-known marker of hepatic stellate cells activation. Anti-alpha smooth muscle Actin [1A4] monoclonal antibody reacts with the alpha smooth muscle isoform of actin.
Gene expression profiling confirmed early changes for known genes related to HSC activation such as alpha smooth muscle actin (Acta2), lysyl oxidase (Lox) and collagen, type I, alpha 1 (Col1a1). Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (Igfbp3) was identified as a gene strongly affected and as marker for culture-activated HSCs and plays a role in HSC migration.  
Domain of Applicability
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