Interactions between cells and their extracellular matrix have been shown to be crucial in a wide range of biological processes, including the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells.
Dr Stuart Forbes and colleagues from the United Kingdom report that ductular reactions containing both hepatic progenitor cells and extracellular matrix are seen in response to acute severe and chronic liver injury.
The team note that an understanding of the molecular mechanisms whereby cell-matrix interactions regulate liver regeneration may allow novel strategies to enhance this process.
|Understanding interactions between progenitor cells and matrix is critical for novel therapies|
Both the ductular reaction in humans and hepatic progenitor cells in rodent models are closely associated with collagen and laminin, although there is still debate about cause and effect.
Recent studies have shown a requirement for matrix remodeling by matrix metalloproteinases for the proliferation of hepatic progenitor cells and suggested defined roles for specific matrix components.
Dr Forbes and team comments, "Understanding the interactions between progenitor cells and matrix is critical for the development of novel regenerative and antifibrotic therapies."