Ethanol and Hepatic Cell Regeneration

  • J.-G. Joly
  • L. Duguay


Regeneration of the liver is a remarkable phenomenon of fundamental biological significance. The normal adult hepatocyte is a stable cell with a life span similar to the life of the organism. Destruction of part of the liver sets in motion an explosive burst of mitotic activity that will restore the liver mass in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the species. Cell replication will stop when the deficit has been restored. Liver regeneration has been demonstrated in every species in which it was investigated, including man, but most studies have been done in rats. Following a 67% hepatectomy in the rat, DNA synthesis requires 5–8 h to begin and 24 h to peak, and declines progressively thereafter. Mitotic activity follows the same course with a time lag of 8–12 h. The initial response involves only the hepatocytes but, beginning a day later, the bile ducts and littoral cells share in the response (Bucher and Malt 1971). The magnitude of the response is proportional to the amount of liver mass excised. Hepatocytes throughout the liver participate in the process, not just those at the margin of resection. In rats, after a 67% hepatectomy the organ is restored in 7–10 days (Karran et al. 1974). In man it is well advanced after a few weeks (Blumgart et al. 1971). The architecture of the regenerated liver is indistinguishable from the normal.


Hepatic Resection Liver Regeneration Partial Hepatectomy Thymidine Incorporation Ethanol Administration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • J.-G. Joly
    • 1
  • L. Duguay
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Recherches Cliniques, Hôpital Saint-LucMontréalCanada

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