Gressner O.A.(2009). Less Smad2 is good for you? A scientific update on coffee’s liver benefits. Hepatology, 50, 970-978.Print this page
Hepatology, 50, 970-978.
Less Smad2 is good for you? A scientific update on coffee’s liver benefits.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have reported that increased coffee consumption is associated with a slower progression of fibrogenesis in patients with chronic and particularly alcoholic liver disease and a reduced incidence of heptocellular carcinoma. However, a causal mechanistic explanation was pending. New results indicate that the methylxanthine caffeine–a major component of coffee and the most widely consumed pharmacologically active substance in the world–might be responsible for this phenomenon, because it inhibits the synthesis of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) in liver parenchymal and nonparenchymal cells, primarily by inducing degradation of Smad2 (and to a much lesser extent Smad3) and thus impairment of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) signaling. CTGF and TGF-beta play crucial roles in the fibrotic remodeling of various organs, and, ultimately, carcinogenesis. This article summarizes the clinical-epidemiological observations as well as the pathophysiological background and provides suggestions for the therapeutic use of (methyl)xanthine derivatives in the management of fibro-/carcinogenic (liver) diseases.
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