Scarring (fibrosis) of the liver and the resulting portal hypertension (portal hypertension) represent serious medical conditions in patients with liver disease. Most chronic liver diseases, such as viral hepatitis or fatty liver disease (NASH) lead to liver fibrosis and portal hypertension.
In the Laboratory for Experimental Liver Fibrosis and Portal Hypertension (HEPEX Lab), Thomas Reiberger's research group is investigating the molecular mechanisms and resulting new therapeutic approaches in various animal models. The HEPEX Lab works in close cooperation with the Department of Biomedical Research at the Medical University of Vienna and provides opportunities for translational research in liver fibrosis and portal hypertension in the N094 PhD Program in Vascular Biology at the Medical University of Vienna.
Among the milestones of the HEPEX Lab, the bench-to-bedside description of the efficacy of the anti-angiogenic multikinase inhibitor sorafenib on portal hypertension should be highlighted: sorafenib was first investigated in a rat model of portal hypertension and subsequently the described effects were also confirmed in patients with portal hypertension treated with sorafenib for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Furthermore, potential adverse side effects of the beta-blocker nebivolol in portal hypertension were demonstrated, and anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic properties of pioglitazone were identified in two models of portal hypertension.
Methodologically, invasive characterization of systemic, splanchnic, and portal hemodynamics in vivo in rat and mouse models of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension are available. Specifically, the partial portal vein ligation (PPVL), bile duct ligation (BDL), and carbon tetrachlorocarbon (CCL4) models are used. The molecular methods to characterize angiogenesis, oxidative stress, inflammation and extracellular matrix composition in liver fibrosis and portal hypertension are performed in close collaboration with Assoc. Prof. PD. Dr.in Natalya Rohr-Udilova.
The team of the HEPEX laboratory works alongside numerous national and international projects and is distinguished by its expertise in innovative collaborations with the pharmaceutical industry.