New insights into liver regeneration
An international collaboration involving scientists from Singapore, China, United Kingdom, and Switzerland, including professor Mikael Bjorklund from ZJE Institute published an article entitled ”Metabolic remodeling during liver regeneration” in journal Developmental Cell.
Regeneration of the liver is important as liver is constantly exposed to cellular damage but this tissue must be kept functional to maintain whole body metabolic homeostasis. Coordinated regulation of metabolism and cell division during tissue renewal and regeneration is required for proper recovery after liver injury.
Image: A regenerating hepatocyte (liver cell) stained for the nucleus (green), cytoskeleton (blue) and mitochondria (purple). Image credit: Matias Caldez.
In this research Caldez and co-workers studied the role the metabolic changes associated with cell division during liver regeneration in mice. Using a combination of ‘omics’ technologies and advanced in vivo imaging, it was found that impaired mitochondrial respiration and oxidative metabolism are the underlying cause of compromised metabolic homeostasis in the damaged liver. Remarkably, it was found that alanine transaminase (ALT), a well-known liver biomarker, acts as an essential metabolic regulator and is required to support tissue recovery after liver damage.
These findings extend previous work by Bjorklund and Kaldis laboratories (Miettinen et al, Current Biology 2014), where the authors identified mitochondrial gene expression and metabolic changes during liver regeneration. The current work now reveals mechanistic details which may have direct clinical implications through the possibility of modulating cellular metabolism to promote efficient hepatocyte division after tissue damage.
You can access the full paper here: https://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/fulltext/S1534-5807(18)30780-9