The number of studies concerning silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) has increased, due in part to their potential uses for biomedical applications. These particles have been demonstrated in the elimination of the hepatitis B virus and the inhibition of the proliferation of various cancer cells in vivo and in vitro. Thus, studies on AgNPs may lead to a more efficacious and safer therapeutic approach for chronic liver injury. Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are essential interstitial cells in the liver and are the predominant therapeutic target in hepatic fibrosis and liver cirrhosis; however, the intracellular effects of AgNPs on HSCs remain to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of AgNPs on the function and metabolism of HSCs. Various concentrations of AgNPs, with a diameter of 10 or 30‑50 nm, were incubated with HSCs. Transmission electron microscopy, flow cytometry, enzyme‑linked immunosorbent assays, and apoptosis and proliferation detection kits were used to analyze the effects of AgNPs on cell proliferation and metabolism. These studies demonstrated that AgNPs inhibited the proliferation of HSCs and induced their apoptosis in a size- and dose‑dependent manner.