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Inhibition of ASICs reduces rat hepatic stellate cells activity and liver fibrosis: An in vitro and in vivo study



Hepatic fibrosis is a chronic inflammation-associated disease, which is involved in the infiltration of inflammatory cells and releasing of proinflammatory cytokines. In the pathological process, protons are released by damaged cells and acidosis is considered to play a critical role in cell injury. Although the underlying mechanism (s) remain ill-defined, ASICs (acid-sensing ion channels) are assumed to be involved in this process. The diuretic, amiloride, is neuroprotective in models of cerebral ischemia, a property attributable to the inhibition of central ASICs by the drug. However, the effect of inhibition of ASICs by amiloride in the liver fibrotic process remains unclear. We found that amiloride (25, 50, or 100 μM) could restrain acid-induced HSCs at pH6 in vitro. In vivo experiments showed that amiloride could significantly alleviate liver injury, decreasing levels of profibrogenic cytokines, collagen deposition, and reducing pathological tissue damage. In summary, amiloride inhibits hepatic fibrosis in vivo and in vitro, which is probably associated with the downregulation of ASICs.