The hepatic progenitor cell niche under experimental conditions and in human liver disease

Project Details


In adult liver, adult somatic progenitor cells (ASPCs) have at least partially retained their embryonic plasticity. Some of these cells are of endodermal origin. These cells are bipotential : they can give rise to hepatocytes or to bile duct epithelial cells. Other cells are of mesodermal origin and could possibly give rise to stellate cells and possibly to sinusoidal fenestrated endothelial cells. To which extent the endodermal and mesenchymal cell compartments are strictly separated, or whether transdifferentiation is possible, is an important question we will address. The ASPCs stand in close contact with TACs (oval cells, small hepatocyte-like cells, committed mesenchymal cells), non-stem niche cells (possibly periductular fibroblasts and stellate cells), parasympathetic nerve endings and with extracellular matrix. This intact micro-environment inhibits proliferation and differentiation of ASPCs. Alterations in the micro-environment discontinue this inhibition. Apart from recruitment of liver cells from local niches, we will also investigate whether some progenitors derive from extrahepatic sources, and if so, where they engraft into the liver and to which cell types they give rise to.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/11


  • Fibrosis
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells
  • Histon (de)acetylation
  • Stellate cell activation
  • Liver Cell Transplantation
  • Liver Sinusoidal Cells
  • Sinusoidal Cells
  • Portal hypertension
  • cirrhosis
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Cell Biology
  • Fat-Storing Cells
  • Intermediate Filaments
  • liver stem / progenitor cells
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Biological sciences
  • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • Basic sciences


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