1. General Surgery Center, Chengdu Military General Hospital; Chengdu, Sichuan Province, 610083
2. Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
# These authors equally contributed to this work.
Liver regeneration is usually attributed to mature hepatocytes, which possess a remarkable potential to proliferate under mild to moderate injury. However, when the liver is severely damaged or hepatocyte proliferation is greatly inhibited, liver stem/progenitor cells (LSPCs) will contribute to the liver regeneration process. LSPCs in the developing liver have been extensively characterized, however, their contributing role to liver regeneration has not been completely understood. In addition to the restoration of the liver parenchymal tissue by hepatocytes or/and LSPCs, or in some cases bone marrow (BM) derived cells, such as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the wound healing after injury in terms of angiopoiesis by liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) or/and sinusoidal endothelial progenitor cells (SEPCs) is another important aspect taking place during regeneration. To conclude, liver regeneration can be mainly divided into three distinct restoring levels according to the cause and severity of injury: hepatocyte dominant regeneration, LSPCs mediated regeneration, extrahepatic stem cells participative regeneration. In this review, we focus on the recent findings of liver regeneration, especially on those related to stem/progenitor cells (SPCs)-mediated regeneration and their potential clinical applications and challenges.
Keywords: liver stem/progenitor cells (LSPCs), sinusoidal endothelial progenitor cells (SEPCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), liver regeneration