Liver disease and compensatory growth: unexpected lessons from genetically altered mice
Published: 1 October 1998
K M Braun and E P Sandgren
University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Pathobiological Sciences, 53706, USA.
Over the last decade, several animal models have been established that permit exploration of liver biology and disease. Although these models have been developed using diverse strategies, including transgene targeting, homozygous gene disruption and administration of hepatotoxic chemicals, each approach creates an animal with hepatocyte damage, resulting in an hepatic microenvironment that supports proliferation of healthy hepatocytes. These models have been used to demonstrate: (1) the remarkable ability of adult hepatocytes to clonally proliferate in response to liver growth signals, (2) the effectiveness of transplanted donor hepatocytes in repopulating damaged liver parenchyma, and (3) the feasibility of reconstituting liver with xenogeneic hepatocytes. This paper reviews the development and use of these models, and outlines their potential future application to the study of hepatic stem cells, therapy of liver disease and hepatic toxicology.