Restoring what's lost: Uncovering how liver tissue regenerates

March 12, 2012

The liver is unique among mammalian organs in its ability to regenerate after significant tissue damage or even partial surgical removal.

Laurie DeLeve and her colleagues at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles wanted to better understand which cells are specifically responsible for driving liver regeneration.

A specialized cell type, known as liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, has generally been thought to promote regeneration of . However, the DeLeve team suspected that stem cells and , which have the capacity to differentiate into mature cell types, might be responsible for stimulating liver regeneration by generating hepatocyte growth factor.

Using a rat model system, they first identified the presence of stem and progenitor cells that give rise to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells in both the liver and the bone marrow. They next sought to determine which population of stem and progenitor cells are required for regeneration. DeLeve and colleagues found that the bone marrow-derived cells were not required for proliferation in the absence of damage.

In contrast, following surgical removal of a portion of the rat liver, an infusion of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells was required for . These results improve our understanding of how liver tissue can regenerate following damage and may shed light on liver complications in patients with suppressed bone marrow tissue.

More information: Liver sinusoidal endothelial cell progenitor cells promote liver regeneration in rats - www.jci.org/articles/view/58789?key=21e2857b21106f232595

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Engineered blood vessels grow in lambs

September 27, 2016

In a hopeful development for children born with congenital heart defects, scientists said Tuesday they had built artificial blood vessels which grew unaided when implanted into lambs, right into adulthood.

Vigilin, the lock keeper

September 27, 2016

ETH researchers have discovered a molecule in liver cells that controls the release of fat into the bloodstream. This "lock keeper" is present in large quantities in overweight people and leads indirectly to vascular narrowing.

Fighting the aging process at a cellular level

September 22, 2016

It was about 400 BC when Hippocrates astutely observed that gluttony and early death seemed to go hand in hand. Too much food appeared to 'extinguish' life in much the same way as putting too much wood on a fire smothers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.