Cholangiocytes, the cells lining the bile ducts, are now recognized as important contributors to and modulators of bile formation. During the last few years, remarkable insights have been made into the mechanisms of fluid, electrolyte, and solute transport by biliary epithelia, as well as increasing knowledge of the complex endocrine, paracrine, and neurologic factors regulating bile formation. Advances in the past year include an increased understanding of the interaction between bile acids and cholangiocytes in the regulation of bile formation in normal and cholestatic states and greater insight into the pathogenic mechanisms of biliary diseases. References to recent comprehensive reviews of specific areas of biliary physiology are provided, and new experimental models are also described.
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