Vol. 115 No. 1/2 (2010)
Original Article

Multipotent stem cells in the biliary tree

Published 2010-09-07


  • stem cells,
  • extrahepatic bile ducts,
  • peribiliary glands,
  • pancreas

How to Cite

Cardinale, V., Wang, Y., Carpino, G., Alvaro, D., Reid, L., & Gaudio, E. (2010). Multipotent stem cells in the biliary tree. Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology, 115(1/2), 85–90. Retrieved from https://oajournals.fupress.net/index.php/ijae/article/view/1063


The biliary tree system consists of two divisions: intrahepatic bile ducts and extrahepatic bile ducts. The development of the biliary tree, and secondarily the liver, shares a common origin with ventral pancreas. A common progenitor for liver, biliary duct system, and ventral pancreas exists at early stages of development, when the anterior definitive endoderm is forming the foregut. Several studies indicate that the biliary tree contains stem cell compartments for liver, pancreas and the bile duct system and persisting into adulthood. These stem cell compartments are present in the peribiliary glands and possibly give rise to committed progenitors in gallbladder that does not have peribiliary glands. The biliary tree stem/progenitors represent a new source of cells that can be used as tools for regenerative medicine of liver, bile duct and pancreas.