Cellular plasticity in liver regeneration: Spotlight on cholangiocytes
School of Medical and Health Sciences
The liver's remarkable capacity to self‐repair and regenerate following tissue injury has been recognized since the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus. However, the diverse potential sources of this regenerative capacity have been an area of hot debate, and only recently have studies started to unravel the actual degree of hepatic cell plasticity. Deng et al. established through lineage tracing experiments using a double‐fluorescent reporter system that biliary epithelial cells significantly contributed to hepatocyte regeneration in two murine chronic liver injury models. Furthermore, during the cholangiocyte‐to‐hepatocyte conversion, biphenotypic cells were identified in both mouse models and human cirrhotic livers. Following analysis of liver progenitor cell markers and mature cholangiocytes, the authors concluded that cholangiocytes directly lineage‐converted to hepatocytes without a progenitor cell intermediate and suggested these biphenotypic cells as potential cellular sources for future therapeutic transplantation strategies.