How does the liver regenerate?

Written by Abigail Sawyer

Researchers from Michigan State University (MI, USA) believe they have discovered why the liver sometimes fails to regenerate, leading to a liver transplant.

It is well known that the liver is the only organ in the human body that can regenerate. However, when patients must undergo a procedure to remove a dead part of their liver, the renewal process doesn’t always work, so they ultimately require a liver transplant. Researchers from Michigan State University (MI, USA) believe they have now discovered why this happens, and the blood-clotting protein fibrinogen has a role to play.

“We discovered that fibrinogen accumulates within the remaining liver quickly after surgery and tells platelets to act as first responders, triggering the earliest phase of regeneration,” commented senior author James Luyendyk. “But if fibrinogen or platelets are inhibited, then regeneration is delayed.”

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