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Am J Pathol. 2011 Dec;179(6):2845-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.08.028. Epub 2011 Oct 18.

Biliary infection may exacerbate biliary cystogenesis through the induction of VEGF in cholangiocytes of the polycystic kidney (PCK) rat.

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  • 1Department of Human Pathology, Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine, Kanazawa, Japan.


Cholangitis arising from biliary infection dominates the prognosis in Caroli's disease. To clarify the influences of bacterial infection on the biliary cystogenesis, in vivo and in vitro studies were performed using the polycystic kidney (PCK) rat as an animal model of Caroli's disease. Cholangitis became a frequent histological finding in aged PCK rats, and neovascularization around the bile ducts also increased in aged PCK rats. Immunohistochemistry revealed that expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was increased in PCK rat biliary epithelium. In vitro, PCK cholangiocytes overexpressed VEGF, and the supernatant of cultured PCK cholangiocytes significantly increased the proliferative activity, migration, and tube formation of cultured rat vascular endothelial cells. Stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) further induced VEGF expression in PCK cholangiocytes, which might be mediated by signaling pathways involving phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Both LPS and VEGF increased cell proliferative activity in PCK cholangiocytes, and siRNA against VEGF significantly reduced LPS-induced cell proliferation. Thus, LPS-induced overexpression of VEGF in the biliary epithelium may lead to hypervascularity around the bile ducts; concurrently, LPS and VEGF act as cell proliferation factors for cholangiocytes. Biliary infection may thus exacerbate biliary cystogenesis in PCK rats.

Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Inc.

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