Extended liver resection in mice: state of the art and pitfalls-a systematic review

Eur J Med Res. 2021 Jan 9;26(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s40001-020-00478-3.


Background: Rodent models of liver resection have been used to investigate and evaluate the liver's complex physiology and pathology since 1931. First documented by Higgins and Anderson, such models were created to understand liver regeneration mechanisms to improve outcomes in patients undergoing extensive liver resection for liver cancer or other underlying liver diseases.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted using Pubmed, gathering publications up to January 2019, which engaged with the mouse model of extended liver resection as a method itself. The results of this search were filtered according to their language, novelty, and relevancy.

Results: The Boolean search found 3741 articles on Pubmed, with 3130 publications remaining when filtered by language and the presence of a full text. In total, 21 of these publications examined the key themes of the animal model described. The mortality varied from 0 to 50% depending on the surgeon's experience and the resection method. The liver resection was mainly performed with classic sutures (14 out of 21 publications) and isoflurane was used for anaesthesia (10 out of 21 publications) in combination with analgesics (buprenorphine or ketamine/xylazine). The most used mouse strain was C57BL/6 (7 of 21 publications) which was on average 11 weeks old with a weight of 23 g.

Conclusion: Through the overview, laid out in the selected publications, this paper reviews the shift of the extended liver resection model from rat to the mouse, describes the state of the art in the experimental setting, and discusses the possible limitations and pitfalls. Clearly, the extended liver resection in mice is a reproducible, practical and easy to learn method.

Keywords: Animal experimentation; Hemostatic clip; Hepatectomy; Liver regeneration; Liver resection; Mice; Mortality; Suture ligation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hepatectomy / trends*
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Liver Regeneration / genetics*
  • Mice