- The liver is a vital organ that plays a major role in many bodily functions from protein production and blood clotting to cholesterol, glucose and iron metabolism and nutrition storage. Maintenance of liver homeostasis is critical for these essential bodily functions and disruption of liver homeostasis causes various kinds of liver diseases, some of which have high mortality rate. Recent research advances of the Hippo signalling pathway have revealed its nuclear effector, Yes-associated protein, as an important regulator of liver development, repair, cell fate determination and tumorigenesis.
- Alcoholic liver disease affects a great number of people worldwide. With limited therapeutic options, stem cell therapy offers significant potential for these patients. To date, a limited number of clinical trials have produced transient clinical responses to cell therapy in patients with alcoholic liver disease. Stem cell therapy to reorganize the postnatal liver is an important theme and mission for patients with chronic liver disorders including alcoholic liver injury. We therefore should redevelop the evidence of cell-based liver regeneration therapy, focusing on targets (disease, patient's status and hepatic function), materials (cells, cytokines and genes), and methodology (stem cell types and their derived microparticles, transplantation route, implantation technology and tissue engineering).
- Hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma are primary liver cancers, both represent a growing challenge for clinicians due to their increasing morbidity and mortality. In the last few years a number of in vivo models of hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma have been developed. The study of these models is providing a significant contribution in unveiling the pathophysiology of primary liver malignancies. They are also fundamental tools to evaluate newly designed molecules to be tested as new potential therapeutic agents in a pre-clinical set.
- It is my great pleasure to present in this issue of Digestive and Liver Disease, Part I of the 2010 Mini-Symposium on Cholangiocyte Pathophysiology, for which I have gladly accepted the role of Guest Editor. For this collection of articles, the Editorial Board has invited an impressive line-up of renowned international experts to write comprehensive and up-to-date reviews on a wide range of topics centered on cholangiocyte proliferation, differentiation, and mechanisms of disease. To all the dedicated Authors whose efforts made this series possible I would like to extend the gratitude of the Editorial Board, and congratulate them for the outstanding quality of their manuscripts.
- Bile duct epithelial cells (i.e., cholangiocytes), which line the intrahepatic biliary epithelium, are the target cells in a number of human cholestatic liver diseases (termed cholangiopathies). Cholangiocyte proliferation and death is present in virtually all human cholangiopathies. A number of recent studies have provided insights into the key mechanisms that regulate the proliferation and function of cholangiocytes during the pathogenesis of cholestatic liver diseases. In our review, we have summarised the most important of these recent studies over the past 3 years with a focus on those performed in the animal model of extrahepatic bile duct ligation.