I Liver Regeneration

Characteristics of Hepatic Progenitor Cells During Liver Development and Regeneration

Akihide Kamiya and Hiromi Chikada


Liver is the central organ for the maintenance of homeostasis and consists of several types of cells, both parenchymal cells (hepatocytes) and non-parenchymal cells (i.e., sinusoidal endothelial cells, stellate cells, Kupffer cells, and cholangiocytes). Mature hepatocytes in adult liver perform many metabolic functions. In contrast, fetal liver barely expresses metabolic genes, instead it supports the expansion of hematopoietic cells such as erythrocytes (Kinoshita et al. 1999). Thus, a liver dramatically changes from being a hematopoietic organ to a metabolic organ during embryonic development. The embryonic liver bud, differentiating from the foregut endoderm, has many hepatic progenitor cells that are also known as the hepato- blasts. Hepatoblasts have a high proliferative ability and bipotency to differentiate into both hepatocytes and cholangiocytes (Lemaigre 2009). It was found that the characteristics of hepatic progenitor cells are different in the fetal and adult liver stages (Kamiya et al. 2009). Several cell surface molecules such as CD13, CD133, DLK1, and LIV2 are found as specific markers of the progenitor cells (Kamiya et al. 2009; Tanimizu et al. 2003; Watanabe et al. 2002; Rountree et al. 2007; Kakinuma et al. 2009). Recently, we found a new progenitor-marker gene during liver development. In addition, several new molecular mechanisms regulating the differentiation and proliferation of hepatic progenitor cells have been reported in recent studies. In this review, we discuss about the various characteristics of liver progenitor cells during embryonic development and liver regeneration.

A. Kamiya (*) • H. Chikada

Department of Molecular Life Sciences, Tokai University School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ; This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017 P.V. Pham (ed.), Liver, Lung and Heart Regeneration,

Stem Cells in Clinical Applications, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-46693-4_1

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