The identity of cellular populations that drive liver regeneration after injury is the subject of intense study, and the contributions of polyploid hepatocytes to organ regeneration and homeostasis have not been systematically assessed. Here, we developed a multicolor reporter allele system to genetically label and trace polyploid cells in situ. Multicolored polyploid hepatocytes undergo ploidy reduction and subsequent re-polyploidization after transplantation, providing direct evidence of the hepatocyte ploidy conveyor model. Marker segregation revealed that ploidy reduction rarely involves chromosome missegregation in vivo. We also traced polyploid hepatocytes in several different liver injury models and found robust proliferation in all settings. Importantly, ploidy reduction was seen in all injury models studied. We therefore conclude that polyploid hepatocytes have extensive regenerative capacity in situ and routinely undergo reductive mitoses during regenerative responses.
Keywords: hepatocyte; lineage tracing; ploidy conveyor; ploidy reduction; polyploidy.
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