Sonic Hedgehog Pathway

  • Alessia Omenetti
  • Anna Mae DiehlEmail author


The Hedgehog (Hh) Pathway, originally identified in Drosophila, [1–4] is a highly conserved signaling pathway which orchestrates multiple, disparate aspects of embryogenesis, development and tissue remodeling in a wide spectrum of systems [5–8]. This is usually accomplished by autocrine/paracrine signaling and aims to control the size and localization of Hh-responsive cell populations in response to local/long distance signals [7, 9]. Hh pathway activation typically enhances the growth and viability of Hh-responsive cells, whereas abrogating Hh signal transduction usually triggers apoptosis in such cells, unless other locally available differentiating factors expedite cellular differentiation to a more mature phenotype that no longer requires Hh viability signals [5, 9]. Thus, up-/down-regulation of the Hh pathway provides a selective growth advantage for cell types that are capable of responding to Hh ligands, when compared to neighboring cells that lack Hh receptors. This leads to ­expansion/contraction, respectively, of Hh-responsive cells, thereby, orchestrating the cellular composition of several tissues [5–7, 9].


Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Bile Duct Ligation Alcoholic Hepatitis Hedgehog Pathway Mature Hepatocyte 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of GastroenterologyDuke University Medical Center, GSRBIDurhamUSA

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