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Annu Rev Pathol. 2018 Jan 24;13:351-378. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-020117-044010. Epub 2017 Nov 10.

Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling in Liver Development, Homeostasis, and Pathobiology.

Author information

1
Division of Experimental Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.
2
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.
3
Pittsburgh Liver Research Center, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA; email: smonga@pitt.edu.

Abstract

The liver is an organ that performs a multitude of functions, and its health is pertinent and indispensable to survival. Thus, the cellular and molecular machinery driving hepatic functions is of utmost relevance. The Wnt signaling pathway is one such signaling cascade that enables hepatic homeostasis and contributes to unique hepatic attributes such as metabolic zonation and regeneration. The Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays a role in almost every facet of liver biology. Furthermore, its aberrant activation is also a hallmark of various hepatic pathologies. In addition to its signaling function, β-catenin also plays a role at adherens junctions. Wnt/β-catenin signaling also influences the function of many different cell types. Due to this myriad of functions, Wnt/β-catenin signaling is complex, context-dependent, and highly regulated. In this review, we discuss the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, its role in cell-cell adhesion and liver function, and the cell type-specific roles of Wnt/β-catenin signaling as it relates to liver physiology and pathobiology.

KEYWORDS:

cholangiocyte; hepatoblastoma; hepatocellular cancer; hepatocyte; liver stem cell; liver tumors; regeneration; zonation

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