Portal hypertension (PH) is responsible for the most severe complications of cirrhosis and leading cause of death and liver transplantation. The standard pharmacological treatment available for PH currently consists of the use of a non-selective beta-blocker. However, a significant proportion of patients do not respond to pharmacological treatment. This has led to the development of identifiable targets for the discovery of new horizons in PH treatment. Recently, there has been significant progress in understanding the mechanism behind PH, which is a product of increased hepatic vascular resistance including structural changes and functional change due to endothelial dysfunction. Moreover, increased portal inflow is the outcome of dilation of splanchnic vessels and hyperdynamic circulation. Here, challenges in formulating potential pharmacological treatment as well as current potential targets for PH will be reviewed. During the past decades, there have been many efforts to explore new techniques to stimulate liver regeneration in addition to pharmacological treatment. The bone marrow (BM) stem cells which differentiate into mature hepatocytes are thought to contribute to liver regeneration and have been found to demonstrate great potential as regenerative medicine in different therapeutic applications. Based on these insights, we explore the current and potential novel therapeutic uses of BM stem cell therapy in PH.
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Conflict of interest Soon Koo Baik has received research grants of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) and the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI15C2364). Moon Young Kim declares that he has no conflict of interest. Seong Hee Kang declares that she has no conflict of interest.
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