Question

Digestive Health

What's the only internal organ that can regenerate itself?

A Answers (1)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    The liver is the only internal organ that can regenerate itself. In fact, you can lose up to 75 percent of your liver, and the remaining parts can regenerate itself into a whole liver again. Amazing stuff. ("If only hair worked the same way," says the bald man...)

    Hepatocytes are the liver cells that are responsible for the liver's ability to regenerate; they act as stem cells that can re-form liver tissue.

    An aside: Do you know the story of Prometheus? This poor fellow gave fire to the humans. His punishment from the gods for committing such a crime: He was chained to a rock, where a vulture would peck out his liver. Amazingly, the liver would regenerate overnight. How did the Greeks know of the liver's power? We're not sure, though it may be because they survived injuries to the organ in battle. While the Greeks were onto something, I'm pretty certain that they didn't have as much insight into the liver as the scientific world does today.
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