Semin Liver Dis 2023; 43(01): 001-012
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1758833
Review Article

Recent Advances in Intrahepatic Biliary Epithelial Heterogeneity

Ashleigh Little
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Abigail Medford
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
April O'Brien
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Jonathan Childs
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Sharon Pan
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Jolaine Machado
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Sanjukta Chakraborty
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
Shannon Glaser
1   Department of Medical Physiology, Texas A&M University School of Medicine, Bryan, Texas
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work was supported by the Department of Medical Physiology, College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, Bryan, TX, the NIH grants DK110035 to S.G.


Biliary epithelium (i.e., cholangiocytes) is a heterogeneous population of epithelial cells in the liver, which line small and large bile ducts and have individual responses and functions dependent on size and location in the biliary tract. We discuss the recent findings showing that the intrahepatic biliary tree is heterogeneous regarding (1) morphology and function, (2) hormone expression and signaling (3), response to injury, and (4) roles in liver regeneration. This review overviews the significant characteristics and differences of the small and large cholangiocytes. Briefly, it outlines the in vitro and in vivo models used in the heterogeneity evaluation. In conclusion, future studies addressing biliary heterogeneity's role in the pathogenesis of liver diseases characterized by ductular reaction may reveal novel therapeutic approaches.

Publication History

Article published online:
15 December 2022

© 2022. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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