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World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun 14;12(22):3512-22.

Biliary wound healing, ductular reactions, and IL-6/gp130 signaling in the development of liver disease.

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  • 1The Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, Department of Pathology, Division of Transplantation, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC-Montefiore E-741, 200 Lothrop Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-2582, USA.


Basic and translational wound healing research in the biliary tree lag significantly behind similar studies on the skin and gastrointestinal tract. This is at least partly attributable to lack of easy access to the biliary tract for study. But clinical relevance, more interest in biliary epithelial cell (BEC) pathophysiology, and widespread availability of BEC cultures are factors reversing this trend. In the extra-hepatic biliary tree, ineffectual wound healing, scarring and stricture development are pressing issues. In the smallest intra-hepatic bile ducts either impaired BEC proliferation or an exuberant response can contribute to liver disease. Chronic inflammation and persistent wound healing reactions in large and small bile ducts often lead to liver cancer. General concepts of wound healing as they apply to the biliary tract, importance of cellular processes dependent on IL-6/gp130/STAT3 signaling pathways, unanswered questions, and future directions are discussed.

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