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Classification of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) lines. Spontaneously or artificially immortalized HSC lines derived from mouse (yellow), rat (orange) and human (red) can be used in place of primary HSC in biomedical research. Most of them represent a transdifferentiated, highly proliferative, extracellular matrix-producing myofibroblastic phenotype. Some lines can be partly reverted by treatment with retinol, fatty acids, or the latency-associated peptide of TGF-β1 into a quiescent, vitamin A-storing phenotype. However, compared to primary cells, these infinite growing lines do not always accurately replicate the biology of primary HSC and can therefore not fully replace primary cells in hepatology research.