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Regeneration of liver tissue – The Hippocratic Post

If liver tissue must be removed due to cancer or other liver disease, the organ usually regenerates quickly and is soon fully functional again. Medical science has not yet fully understood the complex processes that allow tissue to regenerate after resection. The MedUni Vienna research team has now discovered for the first time the essential role of immune cells that increase the production of liver cells. The results were recently published in the respected Journal of Hepatology.

During their investigations, the research team led by Rudolf Oehler and Patrick Starlinger from the Department of General Surgery at MedUni Vienna identified a previously unknown dual function of neutrophils. This special population of white blood cells appears on the scene after removal of liver tissue (partial hepatectomy, PHx) and has been shown to play a key role in regeneration. Researchers were already aware that neutrophils play a critical role in initiating liver regeneration after PHx by initially appearing in local inflammation. In the course of their study, scientists from MedUni Vienna have now discovered that these immune cells change rapidly and subsequently produce factors that the liver needs for growth: “By identifying the dynamic role that neutrophils play in liver regeneration, we discovered an immunological mechanism. which can participate in the repair of all tissue damage in the body,” says Rudolf Oehler, outlining one of the key findings of the investigation.

A possible mechanism of wound healing processes

The researchers arrived at their findings by analyzing the blood of 124 patients before surgery and on the first and fifth day after partial hepatectomy. “In the dual function of neutrophils, we have found an answer to the question of why the liver can regenerate so quickly after such a severe intervention as liver resection,” adds Patrick Starlinger, referring to the main contribution of the immune system to this process. .

Partial hepatectomy is the main and often the only treatment option for various liver diseases, but especially for cancer. Although the removal of (cancerous) tissue may be vital to a patient’s survival, it still initially results in tissue damage. The research team was able to demonstrate that damaged cells immediately trigger the body’s immune response, which promotes tissue regeneration. The details of this chain of immune reactions are now available to medical science for further research, among other things, to improve wound healing processes.

Publication: Journal of Hepatology

Hepatectomy-induced apoptotic extracellular vesicles stimulate neutrophils to secrete regenerative growth factors
Victoria Brandel, Vanessa Schimek, Samantha Gober, Thomas Hammond, Laura Brunnthaler, Waltraud Cornelia Schrottmaier, Marion Mussbacher, Monika Sachet, Ying Yu Liang, Siegfried Reipert, Gregor Ortmayr, David Pereyra, Jonas Santol, Marlene Rainer, Natalie Walters, Cristiano Walters Vasileios Gerakopoulos, Carina Rainer, Andreas Spittler, Tamara Weiss, Renate Cain, Barbara Messner, Thomas Gruenberger, Alice Assinger, Rudolf Oehler, Patrick Starlinger

DOI: 10.1016/j.jhep.2022.07.027

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