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- Hepatic Stem Cells: In Search of

Maggie H. Walkup, David A. Gerber

Department of Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA

Key Words. Stem cell • Progenitor cell • Oval cell • Liver regeneration

Correspondence: David A. Gerber, M.D., CB#7211, 4026 Burnett-Womack Building, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7211, USA. Telephone: 919-966-8008; Fax: 919-966-6308; e-mail: [email protected]

Received February 1, 2006; accepted for publication April 28, 2006.
First published online in STEM CELLS EXPRESS, May 4, 2006.


The field of stem cell biology has exploded with the study ofa wide range of cellular populations involving endodermal, mesenchymal,and ectodermal organs. One area of extensive study has includedthe identification of hepatic stem and progenitor cell subpopulations.Liver stem cells provide insights into the potential pathwaysinvolving liver regeneration that are independent of maturehepatocytes. Hepatic progenitor cells are either bipotent ormultipotent and capable of multiple rounds of replication. Theyhave been identified in fetal as well as adult liver. Variousinjury models have been used to expand this cellular compartment.The nomenclature, origin, and function of the hepatic progenitorcell populations are areas of ongoing debate. In this review,we will discuss the different definitions and functions of hepaticprogenitor cells as well as the current research efforts examiningtheir therapeutic potential.

Stem Cells Vol. 24 No. 8 August 2006, pp. 1833 -1840. OPEN ACCESS ARTICLE.

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