Portal hepatotrophic factors, diabetes mellitus and acute liver atrophy, hypertrophy and regeneration

T. E. Starzl, K. A. Porter, N. Kashiwagi, C. W. Putnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


The acute influence of portal blood hepatotrophic factors upon the canine liver and upon hepatic regeneration was studied after surgical operations which provided qualitatively different portal venous perfusion to the right and left liver lobes. With one such procedure called splanchnic division, the nutrient rich venous return from the intestines was directed to the left lobes, whereas the hormone rich blood from the pancreas and other splanchnic organs of the upper part of the abdomen passed to the right lobes. Within 3 to 5 days, the rate of cell division of both liver sides was increased as judged by autoradiography, but the hormone influenced right lobes exhibited hypertrophy and hyperplasia relative to the nutrient enriched left lobes. In the latter, the hepatocytes underwent pronounced atrophy, deglycogenation, depletion or distortion of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, fatty vacuolization and othe structural changes. When 30 or 60% hepatic resection was carried out at the same time as splanchnic division, the regeneration of the hormone dominated hepatic tissue after 3 to 5 days was greater than that of the hepatic tissue receiving the intestinal venous effluent, as judged by multiple criteria, although both liver sides participated in the regeneration process. The advantage enjoyed by the right liver lobes in relation to the left liver lobes both in the resting or in the regenerating state after splanchnic division was reduced or eliminated by pre existing alloxan induced diabetes or after concomitant total pancreatectomy. Similar, but less complete, observations about the effect of pancreatectomy were made in dogs submitted to the procedure of partial portacaval transposition, in which all the splanchnic venous blood passed to the right lobes, whereas the left lobes were revascularized with systemic venous blood from the vena cava. These observations have added to the recent torrent of evidence that insulin is the most easily demonstrable and, therefore, probably the most important specific hepatotrophic factor in portal venous blood. At the same time, further subtle support was added to a previously proposed hypothesis that multiple other hormonal and possibly nonhormonal factors from the splanchnic viscera and other sources also contribute to the essence of the hepatotrophic effects. These effects were evident and quite advanced within a few days. A prominent hepatotrophic role of glucagon was not identifiable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-858
Number of pages16
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Portal hepatotrophic factors, diabetes mellitus and acute liver atrophy, hypertrophy and regeneration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this