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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3162670, 10 pages
Review Article

Transitional Remodeling of the Hepatic Extracellular Matrix in Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, Louisville, KY 40292, USA

Received 1 July 2016; Accepted 27 September 2016

Academic Editor: Michele Pritchard

Copyright © 2016 Lauren G. Poole and Gavin E. Arteel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Alcohol consumption is a common custom worldwide, and the toxic effects of alcohol on several target organs are well understood. The liver is the primary site of alcohol metabolism and is therefore the major target of alcohol toxicity. Alcoholic liver disease is a spectrum of disease states, ranging from simple steatosis (fat accumulation), to inflammation, and eventually to fibrosis and cirrhosis if untreated. The fibrotic stage of ALD is primarily characterized by robust accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (collagens) which ultimately impairs the function of the organ. The role of the ECM in early stages of ALD is poorly understood, but recent research has demonstrated that a number of changes in the hepatic ECM in prefibrotic ALD not only are present, but may also contribute to disease progression. The purpose of this review is to summarize the established and proposed changes to the hepatic extracellular matrix (ECM) that may contribute to earlier stages of ALD development and to discuss potential mechanisms by which these changes may mediate the progression of the disease.