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Prog Histochem Cytochem. 2007;42(2):61-110. Epub 2007 Apr 19.

Expression profiles of MUC mucins and trefoil factor family (TFF) peptides in the intrahepatic biliary system: physiological distribution and pathological significance.

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  • 1Department of Human Pathology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine, Takaramachi 13-1, Kanazawa 920-8640, Japan.


Mucin secreted by mucosal epithelial cells plays a role in the protection of the mucosal surface and also is involved in pathological processes. So far, MUC1-4, 5AC, 5B, 6-8, 11-13 and 15-17 genes coding the backbone mucin core protein have been identified in humans. Their diverse physiological distribution and pathological alterations have been reported. Trefoil factor family (TFF) peptides are mucin-associated molecules co-expressed with MUC mucins and involved in the maintenance of mucosal barrier and the biological behavior of epithelial and carcinoma cells. Intrahepatic biliary system is a route linking the bile canaliculi and the extrahepatic bile duct for the excretion of bile synthesized by hepatocytes. Biliary epithelial cells line in the intrahepatic biliary system, secreting mucin and other molecules involved in the maintenance and regulation of the system. In this review, the latest information regarding properties, expression profiles and regulation of MUC mucins and TFF peptides in the intrahepatic biliary system is summarized. In particular, we focus on the expression profiles and their significance of MUC mucins in developmental and normal livers, various hepatobiliary diseases and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

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