Oval cells are adult liver stem cells derived from activated hepatic progenitor cells that reside in the small terminal bile ducts. Oval cells can differentiate into both hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells, suggesting that they originate from fetal hepatoblasts that remain undifferentiated in a stem cell niche within the ducts but the exact origin and characteristics of hepatic progenitors in vivo are still obscure. Many of the developmental pathways that regulate hepatogenesis in the embryo, such as HGF, FGF, OSM, TNFa and Wnt control oval cell activation, further supporting suggestions regarding their hepatoblastic origin.
Oval cell differentiation is triggered upon inhibition of hepatocyte proliferation, as seen in cases of severe cirrhosis.
Multiple AncestorsSingle AncestorNo DescendantsDevelops fromPart of Parent