Functional heterogeneity of cholangiocytes. Academic Article uri icon


  • The objective of this article is to summarize the findings related to the notion that cholangiocytes, within small and large intrahepatic ducts, are heterogeneous regarding (1) morphology; (2) secretion in response to hormones and peptides and to bile acids; and (3) proliferation in response to injury or toxins, including bile duct ligation (BDL), acute carbon tetrachloride (CCl 4 ) administration, chronic feeding of bile salts (i.e., taurocholate [TC] or taurolithocholate [TLC]) or alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT). After an overview of the morphology of the biliary epithelium, we provide a summary of cholangiocyte function, the in vivo models, and the in vitro experimental tools (i.e., small and large cholangiocytes or small and large intrahepatic bile duct units [IBDU]), which allowed us to demonstrate cholangiocyte heterogeneity. After a discussion on the receptors, transporters, and channels that are heterogeneously expressed by cholangiocytes, we discuss the different-sized ducts that differentially respond to injury and toxins. Finally, we review the human diseases that selectively target specific-sized ducts.

published proceedings

  • Semin Liver Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Marzioni, M., Glaser, S. S., Francis, H., Phinizy, J. L., LeSage, G., & Alpini, G.

citation count

  • 88

complete list of authors

  • Marzioni, Marco||Glaser, Shannon S||Francis, Heather||Phinizy, Jo Lynne||LeSage, Gene||Alpini, Gianfranco

publication date

  • January 2002