Functional Role of the Secretin/Secretin Receptor Signaling During Cholestatic Liver Injury.
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The gastrointestinal peptide, secretin (Sct) is an important homeostatic regulator of pancreatic and liver secretory function. With regard to the liver, discoveries have been made, in the last decades, indicating a key role for the secretin/secretin receptor axis during normal or cholestatic conditions. Since large cholangiocytes are the only cells to express secretin receptor in the liver, research on secretin also expanded our knowledge on biliary epithelia. In this review we examined in detail the role of the secretin/secretin receptor axis, not only on biliary secretion, but also on cholangiocyte proliferation and senescence, as well as in prompting fibrotic processes involving biliary epithelia. Relevant data on human chronic cholestatic liver diseases, such as primary biliary cholangitis or primary sclerosing cholangitis, and obtained in animal models mimicking the diseases or in correlative studies on human are also reported. The aim of this review is to provide an update on the progress regarding the interactions between secretin and the biliary epithelia in normal and pathological conditions, underlining the aspects that suggests modulation of secretin pathway as a possible therapeutic approach for chronic cholestatic human liver disease.