Journal: Nature Communications
Affiliations: 5Go to article
How the liver repairs itself
© Science Photo Library - ROGER HARRIS/Getty
The liver regenerates after injury thanks to a multistep molecular cascade that starts in the vagus nerve, one of the cranial nerves that connect the brain to the body, and works through white blood cells that serve as intermediaries.
The findings of a mouse study led by scientists at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine could lead to novel strategies for promoting survival in people following liver damage.
The researchers showed that the vagus nerve secretes a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine after part of the mouse liver is surgical removed. White blood cells known as macrophages receive the vagal signal and start releasing a molecule that prompts liver cells to increase their production of FoxM1, a regulatory protein implicated in tissue regeneration — and, thus, whole-body survival.
The study is the first to demonstrate that vagal signaling works through macrophages to control the regenerative process of organs.
- Nature Communications 9, 5300 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07747-0
|Department of Metabolism and Diabetes, Tohoku University, Japan||0.92|
|UC Division of Pulmonary Biology, United States of America (USA)||0.06|
|Department of Internal Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Japan||0.03|