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Transplanted liver cells function in older animals but do not proliferate as much as in younger ones
Date:4/19/2009

and "senescent" rats (more than 35 weeks).

After six weeks, the amount of hepatocyte proliferation was determined by an assay of CD26 enzyme activity. The recipient animals had been bred to lack the CD26 protein, giving the researchers a way to determine which and how many liver cells were part of the recipient liver and which had the CD26 gene product, indicating they originated from the transplant.

Repopulation of hepatocytes was 20 percent in young rats, whether the cells came from a young or old donor. In older rats, by contrast, repopulation was only 2 percent.

All the transplanted and proliferated cells worked, whether they were transplanted into old or young rats and whether they came from old or young rats. However, IGF1 (insulin like growth factor 1, which regulates growth in the liver and other organs) was significantly higher in the juvenile rats.

The next step, say Dr. Stock and Dr. Christ, is to inject IGF1 in old rats and see if this pretreatment would increase the proliferation levels of hepatocyte cells.


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Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Source:Eurekalert

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