Cytokine Regulation of Cholangiocyte Growth
Cytokines are mediator molecules which coordinate communication between different cell types and tissues. Recent studies have shown that cholangiocytes can produce as well as respond to cytokines. Several cytokines such as interleukin-6, transforming growth factor beta and tumor necrosis factor alpha are involved in the regulation of biliary epithelial growth. Aberrant signaling in response to growth modulatory cytokines may impair tissue repair processes in diseases affecting the bile ducts, as well as promote the growth of malignant cholangiocytes. Thus, elucidation of the mechanisms by which cytokines regulate cholangiocyte growth, and their specific involvement in pathophysiological settings may ultimately result in improved therapeutic interventions for the cholangiopathies.