Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a pathology preceded mainly by cirrhosis of diverse etiology and is associated with uncontrolled dedifferentiation and cell proliferation processes. Many cellular functions are dependent on mitochondrial function, among which we can mention the enzymatic activity of PARP-1 and sirtuin 1, epigenetic regulation of gene expression, apoptosis, and so on. Mitochondrial dysfunction is related to liver diseases including cirrhosis and HCC; the energetic demand is not properly supplied and mitochondrial morphologic changes have been observed, resulting in an altered metabolism. There is a strong relationship between epigenetics and mitochondrion since the first one is dependent on the correct function of the last one. There is an interest to improve or to maintain mitochondrial integrity in order to prevent or reverse HCC; such is the case of IFC-305 that has a beneficial effect on mitochondrial function in a sequential model of cirrhosis-HCC. In this model, IFC-305 downregulates the expression of PCNA, thymidylate synthase, HGF and its receptor c-Met and upregulates the cell cycle inhibitor p27, thereby decreasing cell proliferation. Both effects, improvement of mitochondria function and reduction of tumor proliferation, suggest its use as HCC chemoprevention or as an adjuvant in chemotherapy.
Part of the book: Liver Cancer
Hepatic fibrosis occurs in response to persistent liver damage and is characterized by an excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix. When the damage is prolonged, there is a chronic inflammation and persistent hepatic fibrosis eventually leads to cirrhosis, where in addition to the scar, there is an important vascular remodeling associated with portal hypertension and, if decompensated, leads to death or can develop hepatocellular carcinoma. We have been studying the pharmacologic functions of adenosine, finding that a derivative of this nucleoside, IFC-305, shows hepatoprotective effects in a CCl4-induced rat cirrhosis model where it reverses liver fibrosis through modulation of fibrosis-related genes and by ameliorating hepatic function. Furthermore, this compound has the property to rescue cell cycle inhibition in vivo, prevents hepatic stellate cell activation, modulates anti-inflammatory macrophage polarization, and favors a chromatin context that could decrease the genomic instability and characteristics of cirrhosis, enabling the recovery of gene expression profile. Here we show results that contribute to the comprehension of molecular and cellular mechanism of cirrhosis, give the opportunity to suggest biomarkers to the early diagnostic of this pathology, and constitute the fundaments to suggest IFC-305 as a coadjuvant for treatment of this disease.
Part of the book: Liver Cirrhosis