The liver is the only organ in the body that can regenerate itself, but for years the process of how it happens has remained misunderstood.
Everything that enters the body passes through the liver, and with this process, the liver endures damage. Unlike other organs, the liver can heal itself to ensure it keeps performing its over 500 different functions.
In some cases, when damage continues and occurs at a faster pace than the healing, permanent scarring can occur. This results in liver disease or failure.
By the time symptoms occur as a result of liver disease, the disease has progressed greatly, so treatment may not be as effective, and a transplant may be required. But the latest research findings have now offered greater insight into how liver cells regenerate, which can offer up possible new treatment options for the liver disease.
Researcher Professor Auinash Kalsotra explained, “We know that in a healthy adult liver, the cells are dormant and rarely undergo cell division. However, if the liver is damaged, the liver cells re-enter the cell cycle to divide and produce more of themselves. This research looked at what is happening at the molecular level in a damaged liver that enables it to regenerate while still performing normal functions.”
The findings suggest that liver cells undergo a type of “reprogramming” where the cells return to a brand-new state.
At some point, the liver is unable to regenerate itself, affecting its function. Unfortunately, there is no machine that can surgically replace the function of the liver. Until more research is done and improved treatments are developed, it’s important that you take important care of your liver to prevent liver disease.
Early symptoms of liver disease include pain and swelling of the legs and abdomen, an enlarged spleen, itchy skin, spiderlike blood vessels on the face and chest, bleeding from the esophagus and stomach, and yellowish eyes and skin.