Calcium Signaling in Cholangiocytes: Methods, Mechanisms, and Effects

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Dec 6;19(12):3913. doi: 10.3390/ijms19123913.


Calcium (Ca2+) is a versatile second messenger that regulates a number of cellular processes in virtually every type of cell. The inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (ITPR) is the only intracellular Ca2+ release channel in cholangiocytes, and is therefore responsible for Ca2+-mediated processes in these cells. This review will discuss the machinery responsible for Ca2+ signals in these cells, as well as experimental models used to investigate cholangiocyte Ca2+ signaling. We will also discuss the role of Ca2+ in the normal and abnormal regulation of secretion and apoptosis in cholangiocytes, two of the best characterized processes mediated by Ca2+ in this cell type.

Keywords: Ca2+; biliary tree; cholangiocytes; inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3); inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (ITPRs); secretion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Bile Ducts / cytology*
  • Bile Ducts / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors / metabolism*


  • Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors