Liver Repair and Regeneration Research

The Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is actively involved in research studies on liver repair and regeneration.

Studies of liver regeneration focus on the molecular mechanisms of injury and repair following transplantation. These processes are key to the overall success of liver transplantation and in transplantation of partial liver grafts and living-donor liver transplantation.

Liver Center researchers have demonstrated the critical importance of specific cytokines, chemokines and growth factors in the process of regeneration and recovery from injury and demonstrated patterns of gene expression in human livers after transplantation.

Current investigations involve both basic science studies and human translational research with a focus on ischemic injury and regeneration after liver transplantation as outlined below.

Animal studies

  • Early gene expression in the liver graft after reperfusion — use of cDNA microarray, RNA protection assays, and multimeric RT-PCR technology.
  • Partial liver grafts and tolerance for ischemic injury — determining minimal liver volume and molecular events in the development of small-for-size syndrome.
  • Role of IL-6 and IGFBP-1 as critical growth factors in liver regeneration and the interplay between hepatic growth and metabolism.
  • Effect of immunosuppressive therapy on recovery from ischemia/reperfusion.
  • (IR) injury, such as glucocorticoids and sirolimus.

Human studies

  • Regeneration and assessment of liver function in donors and recipients following partial hepatectomy and living-donor transplantation using molecular techniques, as part of a multi-center NIH cohort study.
  • Differential gene expression in liver biopsies obtained post reperfusion, determining prognostic indicators of graft function.

These lines of investigation are funded by NIH grants and the Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center at CHOP. The laboratory personnel have published in top-ranked journals such as Nature Medicine, Hepatology and Transplantation.