Fibrogenesis is a progressive scarring event resulting from disrupted regular wound healing due to repeated tissue injury and can end in organ failure, like in liver cirrhosis. The protagonists in this process, either liver-resident cells or patrolling leukocytes attracted to the site of tissue damage, interact with each other by soluble factors but also by direct cell–cell contact mediated by cell adhesion molecules. Since cell adhesion molecules also support binding to the extracellular matrix, they represent excellent biosensors, which allow cells to modulate their behavior based on changes in the surrounding microenvironment. In this review, we focus on selectins, cadherins, integrins and members of the immunoglobulin superfamily of adhesion molecules as well as some non-classical cell adhesion molecules in the context of hepatic fibrosis. We describe their liver-specific contributions to leukocyte recruitment, cell differentiation and survival, matrix remodeling or angiogenesis and touch on their suitability as targets in antifibrotic therapies.
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