Adult Hepatic Progenitor Cell Niche: How it affects the Progenitor Cell Fate

Aezam Katoonizadeh, Hossein Poustchi


The hepatic progenitor cell (HPC) niche is a special microenvironment composed of different cell types, extracellular matrix (ECM) components, growth factors and cytokines released by the niche cells that help to maintain the characteristics of HPCs and the balance between their activation, proliferation and differentiation. Composition of this special microenvironment, created inresponse to specific liver damage, together with critical interactions between different partners of the HPC niche can determine the fate decisionand differentiation pathways of HPCs. A number of recent studies have shed light on factors and signals from the HPC niche that determines the choice of HPCs differentiation towards a specific cell type depending on the nature of the liver injury and resultant microenvironment created by this injury.This paper seeks to provide an in-depth review, through a literature review and the authors' experiences, of the most recent findings on the role of the HPC niche in fate choice option of HPCs toward either hepatocytes or bile duct epithelial cells and its clinical relevance.


Hepatic progenitor cells; Hepatic progenitor cell niche; Molecular cross-talk

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