Changes in liver regenerative factors in a case of living-related liver transplantation

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Liver regeneration in a patient with fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) who underwent living-related partial liver transplantation (LRLT) was investigated regarding hepatic growth factors. The patient was a 16-yr-old Japanese male who developed severe subacute FHF. LRLT was performed using an extended left lobe of the ABO matched patient's mother. In the recipient, the pre-transplant levels of both plasma hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β were extremely high and rapidly decreased following the liver replacement. The liver volume evaluated using a CAT scan increased 195% after 2 wk in graft liver and 110% after 2 wk in the hepatectomized donor. The explanted liver (FHF liver), the liver from donor (normal liver), and the graft liver [the 3rd post-transplant day (POD 3)] were all investigated immunohistochemically. FHF liver: No liver regeneration was observed [proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) labeling index (L.I.): 0%]. In the liver, both HGF in the hepatocytes and c-met on the membrane of the hepatocytes were positive. TGF-β was positive in the hepatocytes and no apoptosis was detected by the TUNEL method. Donor liver (POD 0): Few PCNA stained hepatocytes were detected. No HGF was detected but c-met was clearly detected on the cell membrane of the hepatocytes. Neither TGF-β nor apoptosis was detected. Graft liver (POD 3): The PCNA L.I. was conspicuous at 40%. HGF was positive in non-parenchymal cells and c-met was positive in the cytoplasm of the hepatocytes. TGF-β was negative while apoptosis was positive in the zone 3 hepatocytes. In conclusion, these findings suggested that the liver of the patient with FHF did not respond to liver regenerative stimulus, in part, through involvement of inhibitor TGF-β. On POD 3, the transplanted graft was in a vigorous regenerative status in comparison to that in the hepatectomized donor. The HGF/c-met system is thought to be involved in the mechanism of regeneration. Intrahepatic apoptosis was detected in the graft on the 3rd post-transplant day probably due to transient ischemia in the liver, which was not related to the Fas/Fas-ligand system.

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