The liver is one of the vital organs with almost 500 important functions and also has a unique regenerating capacity. Despite its regenerative capacity, prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals from alcohol or viruses can result in liver cirrhosis and liver carcinoma, which are both irreversible. The only treatment for these conditions is liver resection. In most cases, the liver is able to regenerate itself even after a section of it is resected. However, in some rare cases, the liver is unable to regenerate itself and the only option left is liver transplantation.
Understanding the cause behind the inhibited liver restoration
Scientists have been researching the underlying reason behind the incapacity of the liver to regenerate itself in some patients after liver resection. According to a study published by New Michigan State University, fibrinogen may be the answer to this question. Fibrinogen is one of the blood clotting factors that primarily functions to prevent excessive bleeding by forming blood clots.
James Luyendyk, a professor of pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine said, “We discovered that fibrinogen accumulates within the remaining liver quickly after surgery and tells platelets to act as first responders, triggering the earliest phase of regeneration, But if fibrinogen or platelets are inhibited, then regeneration is delayed.”
Platelets, also called thrombocytes are cells important in the blood-clotting cascade. Fibrinogens relay data to the platelets to activate themselves. Activated platelets accumulate in the healthy non-resected part of the liver and aids in the regeneration of the liver. This accumulation of platelets significantly promotes liver restoration and regeneration.
Scientists studied some samples in patients who underwent liver transplantation; the research team discovered that lower numbers of fibrinogen led to a lower number of platelets in the liver post resection surgery.
“This shows that fibrinogen deposits are extremely important and directly impact regeneration in both mice and humans,” said Luyendyk.
This significant discovery can allow doctors to predict prognosis in patients with liver diseases. In addition, researchers can now focus on the underlying etiology of low fibrinogen counts and figure out a way to increase fibrinogen count in the body.