Bile plays an integral role in the regeneration of damaged liver tissue, a study finds.
The liver manufactures bile, which is then stored in the gall bladder. From there, it moves into the small intestine where it helps digest fats. Up to 95 percent of bile is then recycled via the blood and pumped back to the liver. It's a highly efficient system, says molecular biologist David D. Moore of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Earlier work had hinted that bile might influence the liver's capacity to repair itself. To investigate, Moore and his colleagues fed mice chow that contained a bile component. Within a week, the animals' livers grew by 30 percent.
In a separate experiment, the scientists removed parts of the livers of normal mice, which within days showed signs of regrowth. Because the gall bladder continued to release a normal amount of bile into the gut, more bile is available per gram of the undersize liver. This suggests that bile stimulated the l