Hedgehog signaling in the liver

J Hepatol. 2011 Feb;54(2):366-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2010.10.003. Epub 2010 Oct 14.


Reactivation of Hedgehog (Hh), a morphogenic signaling pathway that controls progenitor cell fate and tissue construction during embryogenesis occurs during many types of liver injury in adult. The net effects of activating the Hedgehog pathway include expansion of liver progenitor populations to promote liver regeneration, but also hepatic accumulation of inflammatory cells, liver fibrogenesis, and vascular remodeling. All of these latter responses are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of cirrhosis. In addition, Hh signaling may play a role in primary liver cancers, such as cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Study of Hedgehog signaling in liver cells is in its infancy. Additional research in this area is justified given growing experimental and clinical data supporting a role for the pathway in regulating outcomes of liver injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
  • Hedgehog Proteins / physiology*
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver Regeneration
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Hedgehog Proteins