Adult organ regeneration occurs in many systems such as in liver, skin, intestine and heart, indicating that postnatal life is not
a static or quiescent state but a dynamic and complex process. The liver is a spectacular organ, exhibiting high regenerative capacity crucial
for homeostasis and tissue repair: injuries induced mechanically or chemically, can be completely restored. Regeneration involves
extensive cell division, inflammation and extracellular matrix remodeling processes. At the molecular level, one of the key mediators of
regeneration response is the secreted cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ). TGFβ is a profibrogenic and anti-proliferative protein
with pleiotropic functions depending on the cellular context. In this review, we discuss the role of TGFβ in the development of the
liver and in adult liver regeneration, with particular emphasis on its role in regulation of hepatocyte regeneration and in hepatic progenitor
cell-induced regeneration. Finally, we give an overview of the current direction of liver research towards cell replacement therapies.
Keywords: Liver, regeneration, TGFβ, hepatocytes, hepatic progenitor cells, homeostasis, tissue repair, cell division, inflammation, extracellular matrix remodeling.
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Published on: 31 July, 2012
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