T + T – normal size
A new German study revealed that the human liver is less than 3 years old, because its cells are constantly renewed regardless of age, according to the website “Health”.
The study explained that the reason for this is that the liver constantly renews itself and replaces its cells well in young and old people.
The liver detoxifies our bodies and has a unique ability to regenerate itself after damage, but it hasn’t been clear whether the liver’s ability to regenerate itself diminishes with age.
Some studies suggested that liver cells might be long-lived while others showed a stable turnover and it was clear to us that if we wanted to know what’s going on in humans, we needed to find a way to directly assess human lifespan.
Researcher Dr. Olaf Bergmann of the Center for Regenerative Therapy Dresden in Germany said he and his research team used a technique called retroactive radiocarbon dating to determine the liver age of a number of people who died between the ages of 20 and 84.
In all of them, the liver cells were fairly similar in age, according to the results published online May 31 in the journal Cell Systems.
“Regardless of whether you’re 20 or 84, your liver stays on average just under three years,” Bergman said.
However, not all liver cells are so small, a small portion of the cells can live for up to 10 years before regenerating themselves.
These cells carry more DNA than typical liver cells and could be protective, the researchers said.
When his team compared typical liver cells to those richer in DNA, they found fundamental differences in regeneration.
“Typical cells regenerate about once a year, while cells that are richer in DNA can survive in the liver for up to a decade,” Bergman explained.
He added: “With this percentage gradually increasing with age, this could be a protective mechanism that protects us from the accumulation of harmful mutations. We need to know if there are similar mechanisms in chronic liver disease, which in some cases can turn into cancer.”
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