For most patients with liver disease, a surgeon can perform a liver resection and remove the diseased portion of the liver before allowing the patients’ body to regrow this portion of liver. However, this is not the case with all patients; some will require a liver transplant following the resection because their liver tissue does not re grow. Until now it has been unclear why this is the case, but researchers from Michigan State University believe the blood-clotting protein fibrinogen is the key. After the diseased portion of the liver is removed, fibrinogen and blood platelets accumulate in the remaining liver, which triggers the earliest stages of regeneration. If fibrinogen levels are low in patients, the number of platelets in the liver is lower, which means slower regeneration, and a higher chance of needing a transplant. In the future, a simple blood test could help doctors determine if liver resection patients will successfully regrow their own tissues or would benefit from fibrinogen concentrated being administered during surgery.
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