Jul/Aug/Sep 2013; 2(3)

Intervention of Traditional Chinese Medicine Extract in Hepatic Fibrosis Through the TGFβ/ Smad Signal Pathway

Lianghao Hu

+Author Affiliations

Lianghao Hu

Department of Internal Medicine, Changhai Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai, China

Corresponding Author:

Lianghao Hu,


Transforming growth factor (TGF) β is a type of polypeptide that regulates cell growth, differentiation, and activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). TGFβ promotes the expression of collagen gene in the liver and the synthesis of extracellular matrix (ECM) of HSCs. Thus, TGFβ is considered to be the main factor accelerating liver fibrosis and regulating liver fibro-carcinogenesis. Smad2 and Smad3 act as the intracellular mediators of TGFβ signal transduction pathway. Specifically, TGFβ is an important factor contributing to hepatic fibrosis, and TGFβ/Smad is a key signaling pathway of liver fibrosis. Various mechanisms such as inhibiting Smad phosphorylation and inhibiting coactivator gene expression, as well as numerous traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) extracts, can prevent molecule expression in the TGFβ/Smad signaling pathway at the transcriptional and translational levels. In this regard, many investigators have focused on developing traditional herbal medicines as pharmacological medicines to treat hepatic fibrosis; various TCM extracts can act on the same molecule, whereas others simultaneously act on multiple molecular and signaling pathways. The features of TCM extracts are multi-targeted, overlapping, and balanced. To discover new drugs and targets, research on molecule targets and on the interaction between target comprehensiveness and the transduction system must be intensified. Conducting fundamental studies is the initial step, followed by further improving clinical works on TCM extracts to provide evidence-based treatment for liver fibrosis.

Received June 18, 2013.

Revised July 11, 2013.

Accepted August 7, 2013.

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Published September 20, 2013;



2013;2(3): 151-155.

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