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J Surg Res. 2006 Aug;134(2):238-51. Epub 2006 Feb 3.

Prometheus' challenge: molecular, cellular and systemic aspects of liver regeneration.

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Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


The fascinating aspect of the liver is the capacity to regenerate after injury or resection. A variety of genes, cytokines, growth factors, and cells are involved in liver regeneration. The exact mechanism of regeneration and the interaction between cells and cytokines are not fully understood. There seems to exist a sequence of stages that result in liver regeneration, while at the same time inhibitors control the size of the regenerated liver. It has been proven that hepatocyte growth factor, transforming growth factor, epidermal growth factor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukins -1 and -6 are the main growth and promoter factors secreted after hepatic injury, partial hepatectomy and after a sequence of different and complex reactions to activate transcription factors, mainly nuclear factor kappaB and signal transduction and activator of transcription-3, affects specific genes to promote liver regeneration. Unraveling the complex processes of liver regeneration may provide novel strategies in the management of patients with end-stage liver disease. In particular, inducing liver regeneration should reduce morbidity for the donor and increase faster recovery for the liver transplantation recipient.

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