A mesoscale model of G1/S phase transition in liver regeneration

J Theor Biol. 2008 Jun 7;252(3):465-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.01.020. Epub 2008 Feb 1.


The liver regenerates and maintains its function and size after injury by counterbalancing cell death with compensatory cell division. During liver regeneration, injured sites release cytokines, which stimulate normally quiescent hepatocytes to re-enter cell division cycle. Using a mesoscale approach, we have implemented the first mathematical model that describes cytokine-induced dedifferentiation of hepatocytes and the subsequent initiation of DNA synthesis (G0/G1 and G1/S phase transitions of the cell cycle). The model accurately reproduces experimentally measured kinetics of various signaling intermediates and DNA synthesis in hepatocytes for varying degrees of liver damage, in both wild type and knockout backgrounds. Liver regeneration is known to be a robust process, as liver mass reconstitution still occurs in various knockout mice (albeit with different kinetics). We analyze the robustness of the model using methods of control analysis. Moreover, we discuss the system's bandpass filtering properties and delays, which arise from feedbacks and nested feed-forward loops.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • G1 Phase / physiology*
  • Hepatectomy
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Liver Regeneration / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological*
  • S Phase / physiology*


  • Cytokines
  • DNA