Editors' ChoicePhysiology

Bile Buildup and Liver Regeneration

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Science's STKE  18 Apr 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 331, pp. tw132
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3312006tw132

Numerous secreted factors, including growth factors and cytokines, have been implicated in regulating hepatocyte proliferation. Huang et al. report that bile acids are essential stimulatory factors for liver regeneration in mice. An increase in bile acids stimulates regeneration and requires the bile acid nuclear receptor FXR. The authors propose a homeostatic mechanism for determination of liver size, in which FXR and perhaps other nuclear receptors sense the levels of endogenous metabolites to determine the liver's functional capacity. When liver function is decreased as a result of injury, the resulting accumulation of bile acids activates FXR, which stimulates signaling pathways to protect the liver from bile acid toxicity and also promotes liver growth to handle the overload.

W. Huang, K. Ma, J. Zhang, M. Qatanani, J. Cuvillier, J. Liu, B. Dong, X. Huang, D. D. Moore, Nuclear receptor-dependent bile acid signaling is required for normal liver regeneration. Science 312, 233-236 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]