Liver regeneration in traditional Chinese medicine: advances and challenges

Regen Med Res. 2020;8:1. doi: 10.1051/rmr/190003. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


Liver diseases pose a serious problem for national health care system all over the world. Liver regeneration has profound impacts on the occurrence and development of various liver diseases, and it remains an extensively studied topic. Although current knowledge has suggested two major mechanisms for liver regeneration, including compensatory hyperplasia of hepatocytes and stem or progenitor cell-mediated regeneration, the complexity of this physiopathological process determines that its effective regulation cannot be achieved by single-target or single-component approaches. Alternatively, using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to regulate liver regeneration is an important strategy for prevention and treatment of liver disorder and the related diseases. From the perspectives of TCM, liver regeneration can be caused by the disrupted balance between hepatic damage and regenerative capacity, and the "marrow"-based approaches have important therapeutic implications for liver regeneration. These two points have been massively supported by a number of basic studies and clinical observations during recent decades. TCM has the advantages of overall dynamic fine-tuning and early adjustment, and has exhibited enormous therapeutic benefits for various liver diseases. Here, we review the recent advances in the understanding of liver regeneration in TCM system in the hope of facilitating the application of TCM for liver diseases via regulation of liver regeneration.

Keywords: Liver regeneration; hepatocyte; imbalance; liver injury; marrow; traditional Chinese medicine.