Area 3

Mechanisms of liver diseases and complications of cirrhosis

Team leader

Strategic objectives

The main aims of our group are:

  1. To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms that contribute to the development of chronic liver diseases from the initial liver injury up to the development of cirrhosis.
  2. To assess the contribution of liver progenitor cells to acute and chronic liver diseases.
  3. To investigate the pathogenesis and management of complications of human cirrhosis, particularly acute kidney injury and acute-on-chronic liver failure.
Main lines of research

  1. Mechanisms of liver inflammation, with particular emphasis on the role of lipid mediators.
  2. Mechanisms of resolution of inflammation in adipose tissue and its relationship with obesity-associated complications, particularly non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
  3. Molecular mechanisms of liver disease progression both in experimental models and human diseases with particular interest on hepatic fibrogenesis and inflammation.
  4. Angiogenesis, endothelial dysfunction, and vascular remodeling in chronic liver diseases.
  5. Liver progenitor cells in acute and chronic liver diseases.
  6. Pathogenesis of complications of human cirrhosis, especially bacterial infections, sodium and water retention, circulatory failure, and kidney failure.
  7. Biomarkers of liver disease progression and complications of cirrhosis.
  8. Systemic inflammation in cirrhosis with particular interest on the pathogenesis of Acute-on-chronic liver failure. Assessment of new treatment strategies.
  9. Evaluation of non-invasive methods for early diagnosis of chronic liver diseases in the general population.

Research Group

Chronic liver diseases: Molecular mechanisms and clinical consequences

Pere Ginés


The experimental and translational research of our group is focused on the molecular mechanisms that participate in the development of chronic liver diseases and the role of liver progenitor cells. We use a number of experimental models of liver diseases and perform also translational studies in liver samples from patients with different stages of chronic liver diseases. From a clinical perspective, our group investigates the mechanisms of different complications of cirrhosis with the aim of identifying new targets of treatment. Two big areas of research in recent years are: biomarkers of cirrhosis and its complications and the role of systemic inflammation in the progression of chronic liver diseases with particular emphasis on the recently described syndrome of Acute-on-Chronic Liver failure. We have ongoing collaborations with a number of laboratories in Europe and United States and we are active members of the EASL-CLIF, a consortium of European hospitals that perform research on chronic liver failure.

Research Group

Translational research in new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies in liver diseases

Wladimiro Jiménez


Our group have an extensive research experience on the pathophysiological and molecular bases of the most common complications present in patients with chronic liver disease. The research is organized around the following lines: a) identify novel serum biomarkers of fibroproliferative processes, b) explore new therapeutic targets in the treatment of endothelial dysfunction, hepatic fibrosis and the hemodynamic disturbances of liver diseases and c) search for molecular strategies to stimulate a functional liver regeneration. The projects have a profound translational character, with special interest in identifying new therapeutic tools to stop or reverse the progression of the fibroproliferative events. We also intend that the knowledge generated in these studies result in substantial improvements in the biochemical diagnosis of patients.

Research Group

Inflammation and liver disease

Joan Clària


Our research group conducts both basic and experimental studies to translate them to patients afflicted with chronic liver disease. Our main focus is on the study of inflammatory mediators, especially on those possessing a lipid-based structure, the so-called lipid mediators of inflammation. In particular, we have a strong interest for the study of lipid mediators generated from polyunsaturated fatty acids of both omega-6 (i.e arachidonic acid) and omega-3 series and their role in the progression of an uncontrolled inflammatory response. Special attention is given to the recently-characterized proresolving lipid mediators which are a novel genus of autacoids that control the timely resolution of inflammation in the adipose tissue and have the ability to prevent the development of obesity-associated liver co-morbidities.

Research Group

Liver cell plasticity and tissue repair

Pau Sancho


Liver regeneration and tissue repair are complex and well-orchestrated processes that become deregulated in chronic liver disease. By using human samples, animal models as well as primary and stem cell-based in vitro approaches we aim at identifying those factors leading to deficient liver regeneration and the altered mechanisms in tissue repair. In this context, we are particularly interested in understanding the role of liver progenitor cells and cell plasticity in chronic liver injury. Our final goal is to understand the mechanisms involved in liver tissue repair and to identify new therapeutic targets to enhance liver function in chronic liver disease.