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Biology Articles » Anatomy & Physiology » Heterogeneity of the intrahepatic biliary epithelium

Abstract
- Heterogeneity of the intrahepatic biliary epithelium

Heterogeneity of the intrahepatic biliary epithelium

Shannon Glaser1, Heather Francis2, Sharon DeMorrow3, Gene LeSage4, Giammarco Fava5, Marco Marzioni6, Julie Venter7, Gianfranco Alpini8 

1Department of Medicine, Division of Research and Education, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX, United States
2Division of Research and Education, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX, United States
3, 4University of Texas at Houston Medical School, Houston, TX. United States
5, 6Department of Gastroenterology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Azienda Ospedaliera “Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona”, Ancona, Italy
7Department of Medicine, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX, United States
8Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, Department of Medicine, Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, Temple, TX, United States

Supported by a grant award from Scott & White Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, a VA Merit Award, a VA Research Scholar Award and the NIH grants DK58411 and DK062975 to Dr. Alpini, by grant awards to Shannon Glaser and Heather Francis from Scott & White Hospital.

Correspondence to: Shannon Glaser, MS, Department of Medicine, Division of R&E, Scott and White Memorial Hospital and The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine, MRB, 702 South West H.K. Dodgen Loop, Temple, Texas 76504, United States. sglaser@neo.tamu.edu


Abstract

The objectives of this review are to outline the recent findings related to the morphological heterogeneity of the biliary epithelium and the heterogeneous pathophysiological responses of different sized bile ducts to liver gastrointestinal hormones and peptides and liver injury/toxins with changes in apoptotic, proliferative and secretory activities. The knowledge of biliary function is rapidly increasing because of the recognition that biliary epithelial cells (cholangiocytes) are the targets of human cholangiopathies, which are characterized by proliferation/damage of bile ducts within a small range of sizes. The unique anatomy, morphology, innervation and vascularization of the biliary epithelium are consistent with function of cholangiocytes within different regions of the biliary tree. The in vivo models [e.g., bile duct ligation (BDL), partial hepatectomy, feeding of bile acids, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or a-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT)] and the in vivo experimental tools [e.g., freshly isolated small and large cholangiocytes or intrahepatic bile duct units (IBDU) and primary cultures of small and large murine cholangiocytes] have allowed us to demonstrate the morphological and functional heterogeneity of the intrahepatic biliary epithelium. These models demonstrated the differential secretory activities and the heterogeneous apoptotic and proliferative responses of different sized ducts. Similar to animal models of cholangiocyte proliferation/injury restricted to specific sized ducts, in human liver diseases bile duct damage predominates specific sized bile ducts. Future studies related to the functional heterogeneity of the intrahepatic biliary epithelium may disclose new pathophysiological treatments for patients with cholangiopathies.


Key words: cAMP; Gastrointestinal hormones; Growth factors; Mitosis; Nerves

 

Source: World J Gastroenterol 2006; 12(22): 3523-3536


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