Intercellular Communication between Hepatic Cells in Liver Diseases

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 2;20(9):2180. doi: 10.3390/ijms20092180.


Liver diseases are perpetuated by the orchestration of hepatocytes and other hepatic non-parenchymal cells. These cells communicate and regulate with each other by secreting mediators such as peptides, hormones, and cytokines. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), small particles secreted from cells, contain proteins, DNAs, and RNAs as cargos. EVs have attracted recent research interests since they can communicate information from donor cells to recipient cells thereby regulating physiological events via delivering of specific cargo mediators. Previous studies have demonstrated that liver cells secrete elevated numbers of EVs during diseased conditions, and those EVs are internalized into other liver cells inducing disease-related reactions such as inflammation, angiogenesis, and fibrogenesis. Reactions in recipient cells are caused by proteins and RNAs carried in disease-derived EVs. This review summarizes cell-to-cell communication especially via EVs in the pathogenesis of liver diseases and their potential as a novel therapeutic target.

Keywords: extracellular vesicles; hepatocytes; liver fibrosis; macrophages.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication*
  • Extracellular Vesicles / metabolism
  • Extracellular Vesicles / pathology*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / therapy
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases / pathology*
  • Liver Diseases / therapy
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / pathology
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / therapy