The canonical wnt pathway as a key regulator in liver development, differentiation and homeostatic renewal

Sebastian L. Wild, Aya Elghajiji, Carmen Grimaldos Rodriguez, Stephen D. Weston, Zoë D. Burke, David Tosh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


The canonical Wnt (Wnt/β‐catenin) signalling pathway is highly conserved and plays a critical role in regulating cellular processes both during development and in adult tissue homeostasis. The Wnt/β‐catenin signalling pathway is vital for correct body patterning and is involved in fate specification of the gut tube, the primitive precursor of liver. In adults, the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is increasingly recognised as an important regulator of metabolic zonation, homeostatic renewal and regeneration in response to injury throughout the liver. Herein, we review recent developments relating to the key role of the pathway in the patterning and fate specification of the liver, in the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into hepatocytes and in governing proliferation and zonation in the adult liver. We pay particular attention to recent contributions to the controversy surrounding homeostatic renewal and proliferation in response to injury. Furthermore, we discuss how crosstalk between the Wnt/β‐catenin and Hedgehog (Hh) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) pathways works to maintain liver homeostasis. Advancing our understanding of this pathway will benefit our ability to model disease, screen drugs and generate tissue and organ replacements for regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1163
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020


  • Development
  • Differentiation
  • Endoderm
  • Liver
  • Stem cell
  • Wnt signalling
  • Zonation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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