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Keywords:

  • cholangiocytes;
  • cholangiopathies;
  • PDGF;
  • peribiliary plexus;
  • VEGF

Abstract

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Cholangiocytes are involved in a variety of processes essential for liver pathophysiology. To meet their demanding metabolic and functional needs, bile ducts are nourished by their own arterial supply, the peribiliary plexus. This capillary network originates from the hepatic artery and is strictly arranged around the intrahepatic bile ducts. Biliary and vascular structures are linked by a close anatomic and functional association necessary for liver development, normal organ physiology, and liver repair. This strong association is finely regulated by a range of angiogenic signals, enabling the cross talk between cholangiocytes and the different vascular cell types. This review will briefly illustrate the “vascular” properties of cholangiocytes, their underlying molecular mechanisms and the relevant pathophysiological settings.