Importance of endocytic pathways in liver function and disease

Barbara Schroeder, Mark A. McNiven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Hepatocellular endocytosis is a highly dynamic process responsible for the internalization of a variety of different receptor ligand complexes, trophic factors, lipids, and, unfortunately, many different pathogens. The uptake of these external agents has profound effects on seminal cellular processes including signaling cascades, migration, growth, and proliferation. The hepatocyte, like other well-polarized epithelial cells, possesses a host of different endocytic mechanisms and entry routes to ensure the selective internalization of cargo molecules. These pathways include receptormediated endocytosis, lipid raft associated endocytosis, caveolae, or fluid-phase uptake, although there are likely many others. Understanding and defining the regulatory mechanisms underlying these distinct entry routes, sorting and vesicle formation, as well as the postendocytic trafficking pathways is of high importance especially in the liver, as their mis-regulation can contribute to aberrant liver pathology and liver diseases. Further, these processes can be "hijacked" by a variety of different infectious agents and viruses. This review provides an overview of common components of the endocytic and postendocytic trafficking pathways utilized by hepatocytes. It will also discuss in more detail how these general themes apply to liver-specific processes including iron homeostasis, HBV infection, and even hepatic steatosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1417
Number of pages15
JournalComprehensive Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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