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      Hepatic circulation: potential for therapeutic intervention.

      Pharmacology & Therapeutics
      Animals, Humans, Liver, physiology, physiopathology, Liver Circulation, drug effects, Liver Diseases, drug therapy

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          In recent years, knowledge of the physiology and pharmacology of hepatic circulation has grown rapidly. Liver microcirculation has a unique design that allows very efficient exchange processes between plasma and liver cells, even when severe constraints are imposed upon the system, i.e. in stressful situations. Furthermore, it has been recognized recently that sinusoids and their associated cells can no longer be considered only as passive structures ensuring the dispersion of molecules in the liver, but represent a very sophisticated network that protects and regulates parenchymal cells through a variety of mediators. Finally, vascular abnormalities are a prominent feature of a number of liver pathological processes, including cirrhosis and liver cell necrosis whether induced by alcohol, ischemia, endotoxins, virus or chemicals. Although it is not clear whether vascular lesions can be the primary events that lead to hepatocyte injury, the main interest of these findings is that liver microcirculation could represent a potential target for drug action in these conditions.

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