Can Any Human Organs Regenerate?

The human liver can be subjected to a number of insults, from diseases like hepatitis and cirrhosis to being forced to process large amounts of alcohol and sugar. But this organ is perhaps the body's most resilient, capable of complete regeneration even after as much as 75 percent of it has been destroyed. The liver's unique ability to regrow has long been known, but it wasn't until recently that medical researchers have started to understand how the organ works its magic. Rather than regrowing in a manner similar to how an embryo develops, which was previously believed, the liver relies on just a few cells that multiply through cell division, or hyperplasia. According to the researchers, the findings offer hope that it might be relatively easy to stimulate regeneration. According to Harvard Medical School's Seth Karp, the main author of the study, because the number of proteins involved in the process is relatively low and transcription factors aren't involved, "we may be closer to being able to stimulate liver regeneration than we thought."

The life of a liver:

  • The human liver can hold 10 percent of a person's blood and pump approximately 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters) through itself every minute.

  • Every vertebrate creature has a liver that performs a similar job.

  • The liver is both an organ and a gland, performing at least 500 functions in the human body.

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Scientists are performing research on regeneration.

They think that stem cell research has the potential to regrow organs and limbs.

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