Polyploidization of liver cells

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 676)


Eukaryotic organisms usually contain a diploid complement of chromosomes. However, there are a number of exceptions. Organisms containing an increase in DNA content by whole number multiples of the entire set of chromosomes are defined as polyploid. Cells that contain more than two sets of chromosomes were first observed in plants about a century ago and it is now recognized that polyploidy cells form in many eukaryotes under a wide variety of circumstance. Although it is less common in mammals, some tissues, including the liver, show a high percentage of polyploid cells. Thus, during postnatal growth, the liver parenchyma undergoes dramatic changes characterized by gradual polyploidization during which hepatocytes of several ploidy classes emerge as a result of modified cell-division cycles. This process generates the successive appearance of tetraploid and octoploid cell classes with one or two nuclei (mononucleated or binucleated). Liver cells polyploidy is generally considered to indicate terminal differentiation and senescence and to lead both to the progressive loss of cell pluripotency and a markedly decreased replication capacity. In adults, liver polyploidization is differentially regulated upon loss of liver mass and liver damage. Interestingly, partial hepatectomy induces marked cell proliferation followed by an increase in liver ploidy. In contrast, during hepatocarcinoma (HCC), growth shifts to a nonpolyploidizing pattern and expansion of the diploid hepatocytes population is observed in neoplastic nodules. Here we review the current state of understanding about how polyploidization is regulated during normal and pathological liver growth and detail by which mechanisms hepatocytes become polyploid.


Liver Regeneration Partial Hepatectomy Liver Growth Ploidy Class Extra Centrosome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut CochinUniversite Paris Descartes, CNRS (UNR 8104) Inserm U567 Department of Genetic and DevelopmentParisFrance

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