Intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition drives liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in mice and humans

Dafna Groeneveld, David Pereyra, Zwanida Veldhuis, Jelle Adelmeijer, Petra Ottens, Anna K. Kopec, Patrick Starlinger, Ton Lisman and James P. Luyendyk

Key Points

  • Liver-associated tissue factor drives rapid intrahepatic coagulation after PHx.

  • Intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition, but not thrombin-mediated platelet activation, promotes liver regeneration after PHx.


Platelets play a pivotal role in stimulating liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rodents and humans. Liver regeneration in rodents is delayed when platelets are inhibited. However, the exact mechanisms whereby platelets accumulate and promote liver regeneration remain uncertain. Thrombin-dependent intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition was recently reported after partial hepatectomy (PHx) in mice, but the role of fibrin(ogen) deposits in liver regeneration has not been investigated. We tested the hypothesis that fibrin(ogen) contributes to liver regeneration by promoting intrahepatic platelet accumulation and identified the trigger of rapid intrahepatic coagulation after PHx. PHx in wild-type mice triggered rapid intrahepatic coagulation, evidenced by intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition. Intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition was abolished in mice with liver-specific tissue factor deficiency, pinpointing the trigger of coagulation after PHx. Direct thrombin activation of platelets through protease-activated receptor-4 did not contribute to hepatocyte proliferation after PHx, indicating that thrombin contributes to liver regeneration primarily by driving intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition. Fibrinogen depletion with ancrod reduced both intrahepatic platelet accumulation and hepatocyte proliferation after PHx, indicating that fibrin(ogen) contributes to liver regeneration after PHx by promoting intrahepatic platelet accumulation. Consistent with the protective function of fibrin(ogen) in mice, low postoperative plasma fibrinogen levels were associated with liver dysfunction and mortality in patients undergoing liver resection. Moreover, increased intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition was evident in livers of patients after liver resection but was remarkably absent in patients displaying hepatic dysfunction postresection. The results suggest a novel mechanism whereby coagulation-dependent intrahepatic fibrin(ogen) deposition drives platelet accumulation and liver regeneration after PHx.

  • Submitted August 10, 2018.
  • Accepted January 9, 2019.
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