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Clin Liver Dis. 2010 Nov;14(4):705-18. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2010.08.003.

Hepatic progenitor cells: an update.

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Liver Research Unit, Department of Morphology and Molecular Pathology, University of Leuven, Minderbroederstraat 12, Leuven, Belgium.


Liver progenitor cells are activated in most human liver diseases. The dynamics, and therefore subpopulations, of progenitor cells are, however, different in acute versus chronic hepatocytic diseases and in biliary diseases. The role of Wnt and Notch signaling pathways in activation and differentiation of human hepatic progenitor cells holds great promise because they can be manipulated by drugs. Hepatocytic differentiation requires inhibition of Notch (numb switched on), whereas cholangiocytic differentiation requires Notch activation. In this way, the patients' own regenerative response could be supported, which could eventually even avoid the need for transplantation in several patients.

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