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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2002 Dec;13(6):397-403.

Progenitor cells of the biliary epithelial cell lineage.

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School of Biosciences, Birmingham, UK.


Stem-like cells have been identified in liver that are able to differentiate in vivo and in culture to biliary epithelial cells (BEC), hepatocytes and oval cells. The growth factors/cytokines and signal pathways required for the differentiation processes are beginning to be evaluated. There is increasing evidence to suggest that these stem-like cells may originate from both the bone marrow population or from a precursor remnant from liver embryogenesis, as they share many of the same markers (CD34, c-kit, CD45). Most recently, it has been shown that a population of progenitor cells can copurify with mesenchymal bone marrow cells and differentiate under specific culture conditions to form both hepatic epithelial and also endothelial cells. The interaction of haemopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells needs further evaluation. The close association of ductular reactive cells and neovessels in end-stage cholestatic liver diseases and the relation to Jagged/Notch signalling pathway may be important in the regulation of stem cells to form both biliary epithelial and endothelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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