Liver Stays Young
Our bodies grow old naturally, but the human liver can stay young! A recent study from Germany revealed that no matter what ages people are, their livers stay under three years old on average.
The liver is responsible for clearing out toxins from the body. This process will hurt liver cells at the same time. At this time, the strong self-renewal power of the liver comes in handy. But, our body's ability to repair cells gradually declines as we age. So, does that apply the same to the liver? Their study brought further insight into the liver's self-repair mechanism.
The Dresden University of Technology team analyzed 50 post-mortem and biopsy liver samples aged between 20 and 84 years. The study used mathematical modeling and retrospective radiocarbon birth dating to date liver cells. Research data showed that the renewal rate of liver cells basically would not be affected as people age.
Interestingly, not all liver cells have the same renewal rate. A small fraction of liver cells can live up to 10 years. And the older the cells are, the more chromosome sets they carry. Most cells carry two copies, but there can be 4 sets, 8 sets, or even more chromosome sets found in those long-living liver cells. Dr. Olaf Bergmann believed it could be the protective mechanism that defends harmful mutation.
The team will continue to use the same technique to look at other organs to understand more about the cell renewal rates across the body. Dr. Bergmann said that studying cell renewal directly in humans is technically challenging, but it will provide an incomparable insight into the renewal mechanism.
Although our livers have a powerful renewal ability, it doesn't mean we can lower our guard. Daily maintenance is the key to adequate protection and preventing liver problems.
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.