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Event: 344

Key Event Title

A descriptive phrase which defines a discrete biological change that can be measured. More help

N/A, Liver fibrosis

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. More help
N/A, Liver fibrosis
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Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. More help
Level of Biological Organization

Organ term

The location/biological environment in which the event takes place.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

The KE, as defined by a set structured ontology terms consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 14 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling).Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signaling).  The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signaling by that receptor).  Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description.  To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons.  If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests.  Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add.  Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf. More help
Process Object Action
liver fibrosis liver occurrence

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Protein Alkylation to Liver Fibrosis AdverseOutcome Brigitte Landesmann (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed
lysosomal uptake induced liver fibrosis AdverseOutcome Marina Kuburic (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite EAGMST Under Review
ACE2 inhibition, liver fibrosis AdverseOutcome Young Jun Kim (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KE.In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
Rattus norvegicus Rattus norvegicus High NCBI
mouse Mus musculus High NCBI

Life Stages

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KE. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KE. More help
Term Evidence

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. More help

Liver fibrosis results from perpetuation of the normal wound healing response, as a result of repeated cycles of hepatocyte injury and repair and is a dynamic process, characterised by an excessive deposition of ECM (extracellular matrix) proteins including glycoproteins, collagens, and proteoglycans. It is usually secondary to hepatic injury and inflammation, and progresses at different rates depending on the aetiology of liver disease and is also influenced by environmental and genetic factors. If fibrosis continues, it disrupts the normal architecture of the liver, altering the normal function of the organ and ultimately leading to liver damage. Cirrhosis represents the final stage of fibrosis. It is characterised by fibrous septa which divide the parenchyma into regenerative nodules which leads to vascular modifications and portal hypertension with its complications of variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, ascites, and hepatorenal syndrome. In addition, this condition is largely associated with hepatocellular carcinoma with a further increase in the relative mortality rate (Bataller and Brenner, 2005; Merck Manual,2015)

Liver fibrosis is an important health issue with clear regulatory relevance. The burden of disease attributable to liver fibrosis is quite high; progressive hepatic fibrosis, ultimately leading to cirrhosis, is a significant contributor to global health burden (Lim and Kim, 2008). In the European Union, 0.1 % of the population is affected by cirrhosis, the most advanced stage of liver fibrosis with full architectural disturbances (Blachier et al., 2013). Besides the epidemiological relevance, liver fibrosis also imposes a considerable economic burden on society. Indeed, the only curative therapy for chronic liver failure is liver transplantation. More than 5.500 orthotopic liver transplantations are currently performed in Europe on a yearly basis, costing up to €100.000 the first year and €10.000 yearly thereafter (Van Agthoven et al., 2001). 

How It Is Measured or Detected

A description of the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements.These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA). Do not provide detailed protocols. More help

Liver biopsy is an important part of the evaluation of patients with a variety of liver diseases. Besides establishing the diagnosis, the biopsy is often used to assess the severity of the disease. Until recently it has been assumed that fibrosis is an irreversible process, so most grading and staging systems have relatively few stages and are not very sensitive for describing changes in fibrosis. In all systems, the stages are determined by both the quantity and location of the fibrosis, with the formation of septa and nodules as major factors in the transition from one stage to the next. The absolute amount of fibrous tissue is variable within each stage, and there is considerable overlap between stages. Commonly used systems are the Knodell score with 4 stages - no fibrosis (score 0) to fibrous portal expansion (score 2) to bridging fibrosis (score 3) and Cirrhosis (score 4) – and the more sensitive Ishak fibrosis score with six stages - from no fibrosis (stage 0) over increasing fibrous expansion on portal areas (stages 1-2), bridging fibrosis (stages 3-4), and nodules (stage 5) to cirrhosis (stage 6) (Goodman, 2007). Liver biopsy is an invasive test with many possible complications and the potential for sampling error. Noninvasive tests become increasingly precise in identifying the amount of liver fibrosis through computer-assisted image analysis. Standard liver tests are of limited value in assessing the degree of fibrosis. Direct serologic markers of fibrosis include those associated with matrix deposition — e.g.procollagen type III amino-terminal peptide (P3NP), type I and IV collagens, laminin, hyaluronic acid, and chondrex. P3NP is the most widely studied marker of hepatic fibrosis. Other direct markers of fibrosis are those associated with matrix degradation, ie, matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 3 (MMP-2, MMP- 3) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases 1 and 2 (TIMP-1, TIMP-2).These tests are not commercially available, and the components are not readily available in most clinical laboratories. Some indirect markers that combine several parameters are available but not very reliable. Conventional imaging studies (ultrasonography and computed tomography) are not sensitive for fibrosis. Hepatic elastography, a method for estimating liver stiffness, is a recent development in the noninvasive measurement of hepatic fibrosis. Currently, elastography can be accomplished by ultrasound or magnetic resonance. Liver biopsy is still needed if laboratory testing and imaging studies are inconclusive (Carey, 2010; Germani et al., 2011) .

Domain of Applicability

A description of the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided).  More help

Human: Bataller and Brenner, 2005;Merck Manual, 2015; Blachier et al., 2013.

Rat, mouse: Liedtke et al., 2013

Regulatory Significance of the Adverse Outcome

An AO is a specialised KE that represents the end (an adverse outcome of regulatory significance) of an AOP. More help

From the OECD - GUIDANCE DOCUMENT ON DEVELOPING AND ASSESSING ADVERSE OUTCOME PATHWAYS - Series on Testing and Assessment 18: " adverse effect that is of regulatory interest (e.g. repeated dose liver fibrosis)"


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. More help
  • Bataller, R. and D.A. Brenner (2005), Liver Fibrosis, J.Clin. Invest, vol. 115, no. 2, pp. 209-218.
  • Merck Manual available at:,(accessed 10 February 2015).
  • Lim, Y. and W. Kim (2008), The global impact of hepatic fibrosis and end-stage liver disease, Clin Liver Dis, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 733-746.
  • Blachier, M. et al. (2013), The burden of liver disease in Europe: a review of available epidemiological data, J Hepatol, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 593-608.
  • Van Agthoven, M. et al. (2001), A comparison of the costs and effects of liver transplantation for acute and for chronic liver failure. Transpl Int, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 87-94.
  • Goodman, Z.D. (2007), Grading and staging systems for inflammation and fibrosis in chronic liver diseases, Journal of Hepatology, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 598-607.
  • Carey, E. (2010), Noninvasive tests for liver disease, fibrosis, and cirrhosis: Is liver biopsy obsolete? Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, vol. 77, no. 8, pp. 519-527.
  • Germani, G. et al. (2011), Assessment of Fibrosis and Cirrhosis in Liver Biopsies, Semin Liver Dis, vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 82-90. available at,(accessed 10 February 2015).
  • Liedtke, C. et al. (2013), Experimental liver fibrosis research: update on animal models, legal issues and translational aspects, Fibrogenesis Tissue Repair, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 19.