Regulation of Liver Growth: Protooncogenes and Transforming Growth Factors

  • Nelson Fausto
  • Janet E. Mead


After the fetal and postnatal growth of the liver, hepatocytes no longer proliferate actively. In adult humans and animals, hepatocytes have long life spans, ranging from 200 to 400 days or more (in the normal adult liver about 1 hepatocyte in 10,000 to 20,000 may be replicating at any one time), but it is a common observation that they divide in response to hepatic cell death or loss of liver tissue (7). Hepatocyte proliferation occurs in viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatotoxic reactions, and massive liver necrosis as well as other conditions. It can be induced in experimental animals by partial hepatectomy or cell death caused by chemical agents such as carbon tetrachloride and dioxins (73, 83). In all of these cases, hepatic growth is a compensatory response to decreased liver mass or loss of cells but it is also possible to induce DNA synthesis and replication of normal liver hepatocytes. This adaptive response occurs in some types of nutritional changes and may be caused by agents such as hexachlorobenzene and organochlorine insecticides that cause minimal hepatocyte necrosis (8, 68, 72).


Liver Regeneration Partial Hepatectomy Liver Growth Hepatic Stimulator Substance Normal Adult Liver 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nelson Fausto
    • 1
  • Janet E. Mead
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Division of Biology and MedicineBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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