Hepatic stellate cells comprise a minor cell population in the liver that plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. In chronic liver damage, they undergo a transition from a quiescent to a highly proliferative phenotype with the capacity to synthesize large quantities of extracellular matrix compounds such as collagens. Because of their pivotal role in liver disease pathogenesis, this hepatic cell population has become into the focus of liver research for many years. However, the isolation of these cells is time consuming and requires trained laboratory personnel. In addition, working with primary cells requires the following of ethical and legal standards that need to be approved by the respective authorities. Therefore, continuous growing hepatic stellate cells have become very popular in research laboratories because they are widely available, easy to handle, allow a continuous supply of materials, and further allow reduction of lab animal use in biomedical research. This communication provides some general information about immortalized hepatic stellate cell lines from mouse, rats and humans.
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