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Lab Invest. 2006 Nov;86(11):1161-71. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

Defective hepatic regeneration after partial hepatectomy in leptin-deficient mice is not rescued by exogenous leptin.

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  • 1Laboratory of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.


Liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH) is impaired in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Here, we tested whether exogenous leptin and/or correction of the obese phenotype (by food restriction or long-term leptin administration) would rescue hepatocyte proliferation and whether the hepatic progenitor cell compartment was activated in leptin-deficient ob/ob livers after PH. Because of the high mortality following 70% PH to ob/ob mice, we performed a less extensive (55%) resection. Compared to lean mice, liver regeneration after 55% PH was deeply impaired and delayed in ob/ob mice. Administration of exogenous leptin to ob/ob mice at doses that restored circulating leptin levels during the surgery and postsurgery period or for 3 weeks prior to the surgical procedure did not rescue defective liver regeneration. Moreover, correction of obesity, metabolic syndrome and hepatic steatosis by prolonged administration of leptin or food restriction (with or without leptin replacement at the time of PH) did not improve liver regeneration in ob/ob mice. The hepatic progenitor cell compartment was increased in ob/ob mice. However, after PH, the number of progenitor cells decreased and signs of proliferation were absent from this cell compartment. In this study, we have conclusively shown that neither leptin replacement nor amelioration of the metabolic syndrome, obese phenotype and hepatic steatosis, with or without restitution of normal circulating levels of leptin, was able to restore replicative competence to ob/ob livers after PH. Thus, leptin does not directly signal to liver cells to promote hepatocyte proliferation, and the obese phenotype is not solely responsible for impaired regeneration.

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