Aim: To investigate the effect of oral zinc supplementation (polaprezinc) for 24 weeks (34 mg/day zinc) on liver fibrosis in patients with advanced chronic liver disease. Methods: Various markers of liver fibrosis, and fibrogenic and fibrolytic enzyme activities were measured before and after zinc supplementation in 17 patients with early cirrhosis. Results: Serum zinc levels were decreased in the patients as compared with healthy controls. No side-effect was noted in any of the patients who received zinc supplementation. Serum levels of zinc increased by up to 156% over baseline levels in the group of patients who took oral zinc for 24 weeks. In patients whose serum zinc levels increased, the serum levels of type IV collagen and the activity of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) were significantly reduced, but no such change was observed in the other groups of patients, and no other serum markers changed. Conclusion: These results suggest that oral zinc supplement therapy with polaprezinc is safe and may be a novel and useful strategy for antifibrosis therapy in patients with early liver cirrhosis.
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