The prospect of regenerating deformed or damaged body parts has captivated the human imagination for millennia, as suggested by an excerpt in Hesiod's Theogony describing the regeneration of Prometheus' liver. The regenerative capability of the liver to which that legend refers is conserved in all vertebrates. Moreover, in humans and other mammals, the liver is unique amongst visceral organs in this capacity to regenerate from injury. Research investigating the regulation of liver regeneration, using rodent partial hepatectomy and other experimental paradigms, has elucidated many aspects of the physiological, cellular, and molecular mechanisms that control this process, and has begun to define how those mechanisms are deranged in the setting of impaired regeneration. Nevertheless, despite almost a century of rigorous study, the nature and identities of the most proximal signals that initiate hepatic regeneration and those distal signals that terminate this response are still incompletely characterized. Moreover, the biological processes that permit the liver to regenerate after injury, where other mammalian organ systems cannot, remain unknown. This chapter provides an overview of the history of experimental analyses of liver regeneration and the model systems employed for and broad principles and specific molecular regulators elucidated by such investigation. The relevance of these topics to human liver disease and areas of ongoing research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegenerative Medicine Applications in Organ Transplantation
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780123985231
StatePublished - 2014


  • Cell cycle
  • Cell proliferation
  • Growth factor
  • Hepatotoxin
  • Liver regeneration
  • Metabolism
  • Mouse model
  • Partial hepatectomy
  • Transcriptional regulation


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