Cholangiocytes are cells that line the inside of the biliary tree. Their main function is to modify the bile that is produced and secreted by hepatocytes.
Hepatocytes are the main cell type in the liver that perform the majority of the functions in the liver. See Liver for functions.
The liver performs many functions in the body such as detoxifying blood, removing drugs and bacteria, producing and storing protein, fats, and glucose, producing albumin and clotting factors, and storing iron. It is also one of the only organs with the ability to regenerate itself.
Ascending cholangitis is a life-threatening disease where there is a bacterial infection in the biliary tree causing a blockage. As cholangiocytes die, they release ALP, which can be used for diagnostics.
Drug-Induced Liver Injury (DILI) is an acute disorder where ingested pharmaceuticals lead to liver damage. The prototypical case is acetaminophen overdose which can be exacerbated with chronic alcohol use. As hepatocytes die, they release AST/ALT, which can be used for diagnosis.
Cirrhosis of the liver is a life threatening, non-reversible disease. There is extensive scarring of the liver with restricted parts that are trying to regenerate leading to the bumpy pattern. There is overall loss of liver function.
Ascending Cholangitis -> Cholangiocyte
The main danger in ascending cholangitis is a bacterial infection that can be treated with the antibiotic piperacillin (a form of penicillin) and a B-lactamase inhibitor, tazobactam, which helps prevent resistance.
DILI -> Hepatocyte
In Drug Induced Liver Injury associated with acetaminophen overdose, the liver doesn't have enough glutathione to detoxify the acetaminophen. N-acetyl cysteine can be used to help replenish the glutathione pools.
Cirrhosis -> Liver
One of the dangerous symptoms of cirrhosis is portal hypertension. This can be treated with the alpha/beta blocker, carvedilol, which decreases blood flow to the liver through the portal vein and helps to dilate vessels inside the liver itself.