PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Cholangiocytes are increasingly recognized as biologically important epithelia because of the diverse array of cellular processes in which they participate. Collectively, these processes define normal function and, when disturbed, account for abnormalities that cause disease. In addition, the cholangiocyte is the target cell of diverse pathologic processes (i.e. the cholangiopathies). Advances in animal models, imaging and gene silencing have further defined the roles that cholangiocytes play in signaling, transport of water, ions and solutes, and alterations that result in cholestasis. The pace of advances in technology justifies a yearly summary to identify trends, and apprise the readership of the most significant developments in cholangiocyte biology. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent progress includes insights into the molecular mechanisms of bile secretion, the development of new experimental models, technologies, hypotheses and therapies relevant to disease. Major advances have also included the identification of novel roles for receptors and a better understanding of mechanistic pathways and biologic processes. SUMMARY: This compendium of current activities in cholangiocyte biology may promote collegial sharing and exchange of novel concepts, ideas, reagents and probes, thereby promoting positive advances in the field.
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