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Event: 344

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

N/A, Liver fibrosis

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
N/A, Liver fibrosis

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help
Level of Biological Organization

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
liver fibrosis liver occurrence

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Protein Alkylation to Liver Fibrosis AdverseOutcome Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
lysosomal uptake induced liver fibrosis AdverseOutcome Allie Always (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite EAGMST Under Review
ACE2 inhibition, liver fibrosis AdverseOutcome Evgeniia Kazymova (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
Rattus norvegicus Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
mouse Mus musculus High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages

Sex Applicability

The authors must select from one of the following: Male, female, mixed, asexual, third gender, hermaphrodite, or unspecific. More help
Term Evidence

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

Liver fibrosis results from perpetuation of the normal wound healing response, as a result of repeated cycles of hepatocyte injury and repair and is a dynamic process, characterised by an excessive deposition of ECM (extracellular matrix) proteins including glycoproteins, collagens, and proteoglycans. It is usually secondary to hepatic injury and inflammation, and progresses at different rates depending on the aetiology of liver disease and is also influenced by environmental and genetic factors. If fibrosis continues, it disrupts the normal architecture of the liver, altering the normal function of the organ and ultimately leading to liver damage. Cirrhosis represents the final stage of fibrosis. It is characterised by fibrous septa which divide the parenchyma into regenerative nodules which leads to vascular modifications and portal hypertension with its complications of variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, and hepatorenal syndrome. In addition, this condition is largely associated with hepatocellular carcinoma with a further increase in the relative mortality rate (Bataller and Brenner, 2005; Merck Manual,2015)

Liver fibrosis is an important health issue with clear regulatory relevance. The burden of disease attributable to liver fibrosis is quite high; progressive hepatic fibrosis, ultimately leading to cirrhosis, is a significant contributor to global health burden (Lim and Kim, 2008). In the European Union, 0.1 % of the population is affected by cirrhosis, the most advanced stage of liver fibrosis with full architectural disturbances (Blachier et al., 2013). Besides the epidemiological relevance, liver fibrosis also imposes a considerable economic burden on society. Indeed, the only curative therapy for chronic liver failure is liver transplantation. More than 5.500 orthotopic liver transplantations are currently performed in Europe on a yearly basis, costing up to €100.000 the first year and €10.000 yearly thereafter (Van Agthoven et al., 2001). 

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Liver biopsy is an important part of the evaluation of patients with a variety of liver diseases. Besides establishing the diagnosis, the biopsy is often used to assess the severity of the disease. Until recently it has been assumed that fibrosis is an irreversible process, so most grading and staging systems have relatively few stages and are not very sensitive for describing changes in fibrosis. In all systems, the stages are determined by both the quantity and location of the fibrosis, with the formation of septa and nodules as major factors in the transition from one stage to the next. The absolute amount of fibrous tissue is variable within each stage, and there is considerable overlap between stages. Commonly used systems are the Knodell score with 4 stages - no fibrosis (score 0) to fibrous portal expansion (score 2) to bridging fibrosis (score 3) and Cirrhosis (score 4) – and the more sensitive Ishak fibrosis score with six stages - from no fibrosis (stage 0) over increasing fibrous expansion on portal areas (stages 1-2), bridging fibrosis (stages 3-4), and nodules (stage 5) to cirrhosis (stage 6) (Goodman, 2007). Liver biopsy is an invasive test with many possible complications and the potential for sampling error. Noninvasive tests become increasingly precise in identifying the amount of liver fibrosis through computer-assisted image analysis. Standard liver tests are of limited value in assessing the degree of fibrosis. Direct serologic markers of fibrosis include those associated with matrix deposition — e.g.procollagen type III amino-terminal peptide (P3NP), type I and IV collagens, laminin, hyaluronic acid, and chondrex. P3NP is the most widely studied marker of hepatic fibrosis. Other direct markers of fibrosis are those associated with matrix degradation, ie, matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 3 (MMP-2, MMP- 3) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 1 and 2 (TIMP-1, TIMP-2).These tests are not commercially available, and the components are not readily available in most clinical laboratories. Some indirect markers that combine several parameters are available but not very reliable. Conventional imaging studies (ultrasonography and computed tomography) are not sensitive for fibrosis. Hepatic elastography, a method for estimating liver stiffness, is a recent development in the noninvasive measurement of hepatic fibrosis. Currently, elastography can be accomplished by ultrasound or magnetic resonance. Liver biopsy is still needed if laboratory testing and imaging studies are inconclusive (Carey, 2010; Germani et al., 2011) .

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

Human: Bataller and Brenner, 2005;Merck Manual, 2015; Blachier et al., 2013.

Rat, mouse: Liedtke et al., 2013

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. For KEs that are designated as an AO, one additional field of information (regulatory significance of the AO) should be completed, to the extent feasible. If the KE is being described is not an AO, simply indicate “not an AO” in this section.A key criterion for defining an AO is its relevance for regulatory decision-making (i.e., it corresponds to an accepted protection goal or common apical endpoint in an established regulatory guideline study). For example, in humans this may constitute increased risk of disease-related pathology in a particular organ or organ system in an individual or in either the entire or a specified subset of the population. In wildlife, this will most often be an outcome of demographic significance that has meaning in terms of estimates of population sustainability. Given this consideration, in addition to describing the biological state associated with the AO, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to describe regulatory examples using this AO. More help

From the OECD - GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ON DEVELOPING AND ASSESSING ADVERSE OUTCOME PATHWAYS - Series on Testing and Assessment 18: " adverse effect that is of regulatory interest (e.g. repeated dose liver fibrosis)"


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help
  • Bataller, R. and D.A. Brenner (2005), Liver Fibrosis, J.Clin. Invest, vol. 115, no. 2, pp. 209-218.
  • Merck Manual available at:,(accessed 10 February 2015).
  • Lim, Y. and W. Kim (2008), The global impact of hepatic fibrosis and end-stage liver disease, Clin Liver Dis, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 733-746.
  • Blachier, M. et al. (2013), The burden of liver disease in Europe: a review of available epidemiological data, J Hepatol, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 593-608.
  • Van Agthoven, M. et al. (2001), A comparison of the costs and effects of liver transplantation for acute and for chronic liver failure. Transpl Int, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 87-94.
  • Goodman, Z.D. (2007), Grading and staging systems for inflammation and fibrosis in chronic liver diseases, Journal of Hepatology, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 598-607.
  • Carey, E. (2010), Noninvasive tests for liver disease, fibrosis, and cirrhosis: Is liver biopsy obsolete? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, vol. 77, no. 8, pp. 519-527.
  • Germani, G. et al. (2011), Assessment of Fibrosis and Cirrhosis in Liver Biopsies, Semin Liver Dis, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 82-90. available at,(accessed 10 February 2015).
  • Liedtke, C. et al. (2013), Experimental liver fibrosis research: update on animal models, legal issues and translational aspects, Fibrogenesis Tissue Repair, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 19.