Understanding the marvels behind liver regeneration

Anan Abu Rmilah, Wei Zhou, Erek Nelson, Li Lin, Bruce Amiot, Scott L. Nyberg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Tissue regeneration is a process by which the remaining cells of an injured organ regrow to offset the missed cells. This field is relatively a new discipline that has been a focus of intense research by clinicians, surgeons, and scientists for decades. It constitutes the cornerstone of tissue engineering, creation of artificial organs, and generation and utilization of therapeutic stem cells to undergo transformation to different types of mature cells. Many medical experts, scientists, biologists, and bioengineers have dedicated their efforts to deeply comprehend the process of liver regeneration, striving for harnessing it to invent new therapies for liver failure. Liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rodents has been extensively studied by researchers for many years. It is divided into three important distinctive phases including (a) Initiation or priming phase which includes an overexpression of specific genes to prepare the liver cells for replication, (b) Proliferation phase in which the liver cells undergo a series of cycles of cell division and expansion and finally, (c) termination phase which acts as brake to stop the regenerative process and prevent the liver tissue overgrowth. These events are well controlled by cytokines, growth factors, and signaling pathways. In this review, we describe the function, embryology, and anatomy of human liver, discuss the molecular basis of liver regeneration, elucidate the hepatocyte and cholangiocyte lineages mediating this process, explain the role of hepatic progenitor cells and elaborate the developmental signaling pathways and regulatory molecules required to procure a complete restoration of hepatic lobule. This article is categorized under: Adult Stem Cells, Tissue Renewal, and Regeneration > Regeneration Signaling Pathways > Global Signaling Mechanisms Gene Expression and Transcriptional Hierarchies > Cellular Differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere340
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • hepatic progenitor cell
  • liver regeneration
  • partial hepatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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