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Abstract

The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is frequently activated in patients with chronic liver diseases. Angiotensin-II (AT-II) has been suggested to play an important role in liver fibrogenesis. It induces hepatic stellate cell (HSC) proliferation and up-regulates the transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) expression via AT-II type 1 receptor (AT1-R) in vitro. The aim of the present study was to examine the in vivo effect of candesartan (CA), a clinically used AT1-R blocker (ARB), and perindopril (PE), an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor (ACE-I), on pig serum-induced liver fibrosis development in rats. The clinically available comparable doses of CA and PE significantly attenuated the fibrosis development. These inhibitory effects of PE and CA were also found in the on-going liver fibrosis model. The hepatic hydroxyproline and serum fibrosis markers were significantly suppressed by CA and PE treatment. Furthermore, the α smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive cells in number were markedly suppressed by CA and PE treatment. Similarly, the hepatic TGF-β1 protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were significantly suppressed. Our in vitro study showed that AT-II increased the TGF-β1 mRNA expression in the activated HSCs, and this effect was totally blocked by CA. These results suggested that the RAS, especially AT-II and AT1-R interaction plays a pivotal role in liver fibrosis development through HSC activation. Because both CA and PE are widely used in clinical practice without serious side effects, these drugs may provide an effective new strategy for anti–liver fibrosis therapy.