Background: Liver transplantation is used to treat patients with irreversible liver failure from a variety of causes. Long-term survival has been reported, particularly in the paediatric population, with graft survival longer than 20 years now possible. The goal for paediatric liver transplantation is to increase the longevity of grafts to match the normal life expectancy of the child. This paper reviews the literature on the current understanding of ageing of the liver and biomarkers that may predict long-term survival or aid in utilization of organs.
Methods: Scientific papers published from 1950 to 2013 were sought and extracted from the MEDLINE, PubMed and University of Melbourne databases.
Results: Hepatocytes appear resistant to the ageing process, but are affected by both replicative senescence and stress-related senescence. These processes may be exacerbated by the act of transplantation. The most studied biomarkers are telomeres and SMP-30.
Conclusion: There are many factors that play a role in the ageing of the liver. Further studies into biomarkers of ageing and their relationship to the chronological age of the liver are required to aid in predicting long-term graft survival and utilization of organs.
© 2014 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.