Liver Matrix in Benign and Malignant Biliary Tract Disease

Luca Fabris, Massimiliano Cadamuro, Silvia Cagnin, Mario Strazzabosco, Gregory J. Gores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The extracellular matrix is a highly reactive scaffold formed by a wide array of multifunctional molecules, encompassing collagens and noncollagenous glycoproteins, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, and polysaccharides. Besides outlining the tissue borders, the extracellular matrix profoundly regulates the behavior of resident cells by transducing mechanical signals, and by integrating multiple cues derived from the microenvironment. Evidence is mounting that changes in the biostructure of the extracellular matrix are instrumental for biliary repair. Following biliary damage and eventually, malignant transformation, the extracellular matrix undergoes several quantitative and qualitative modifications, which direct interactions among hepatic progenitor cells, reactive ductular cells, activated myofibroblasts and macrophages, to generate the ductular reaction. Herein, we will give an overview of the main molecular factors contributing to extracellular matrix remodeling in cholangiopathies. Then, we will discuss the structural alterations in terms of biochemical composition and physical stiffness featuring the desmoplastic matrix of cholangiocarcinoma along with their pro-oncogenic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-297
Number of pages16
JournalSeminars in liver disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • basement membrane
  • biliary fibrosis
  • cholangiocytes
  • ductular reaction
  • tumor reactive stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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