Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, Illinois News Bureau

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The liver has a rare superpower among body organs – the ability to regenerate, even if 70% of its mass is removed. It also keeps up its metabolic and toxin-removing work during the process of regeneration, thanks to a subset of cells that expand their workload while the rest focus on multiplication, a new study in mice found.

Furthermore, the cells of the liver communicate with each other to coordinate regeneration activity, which progresses from the center to the periphery of the missing liver lobes, researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign said.


Previous work from Kalsotra’s group found that, during regeneration, mature liver cells – normally stable and slow to divide – revert to a more pliable neonatal state. This allows them to divide quickly but causes them to lose their metabolic function. Questions remained of how the liver maintained mature metabolic function while its cells reverted to an immature state, and how the cells know when to stop proliferating.


Immunofluorescence labelling of mouse livers chased with EdU (a dTTP nucleotide analogue) for 48 hours after 2/3rd partial hepatectomy. The Glutamine Synthase (Yellow) and E-cadherin (Green) show the central and portal vein regions respectively. It is evident from this cumulative labelling that proliferation (EdU+, red) is undertaken majorly in the midlobular region (Zone 2, GLUL-ve and ECAD-ve).”

Image Credits: Sushant Bangru & Ullas V. Chembazhi


– Written by Liz Ahlberg Touchstone, Biomedical Sciences Editor, Illinois News Bureau 

Link to original article.