The liver can regenerate after severe injury or surgery, even when up to 70% of the tissue has been removed. Lesurtel et al. report that in a mouse model, serotonin carried by platelets circulating in the blood plays a role in the regenerative process. Liver was found to express serotonin receptors. Mice with impaired platelet function had a reduced regenerative response, but when they were treated with a serotonin receptor agonist, hepatocyte proliferation was restored. Liver regeneration in mice lacking peripheral serotonin was also restored when their platelets were reloaded with serotonin. Therapeutic treatment with serotonin receptor agonists may thus be useful in tissue recovery.
M. Lesurtel, R. Graf, B. Aleil, D. J. Walther, Y. Tian, W. Jochum, C. Gachet, M. Bader, P.-A. Clavien, Platelet-derived serotonin mediates liver regeneration. Science 312, 104-107 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]