A new study published in Science Advances by a research team from Nanjing University in China has developed a method that induces mice to convert their spleen into partial liver function, which could lead to new alternatives to organ transplantation,media reported.
As one of the five organs of the human body, the liver is an organ in the vertebrate body with metabolic function as the main body. But liver disease has skyrocketed in recent years, and many patients have had to have liver transplants. However, due to the small number of donors, has been in a state of oversupply. So scientists hope to be looking for a suitable alternative to the liver.
The spleen plays an important role in producing and removing impurities in the blood and is therefore considered part of the immune system. However, due to limited function, the body’s spleen is removed and does not have a significant impact. Therefore, the researchers hope to test mice to change the function of their spleen to make it have liver function.
In the study, the researchers first surgically moved each mouse’s spleen to a position under its skin for easier operation, and then injected the spleen with a biologic to make it harder and become a platform to support new cell growth.
Once the structure was successfully completed in mice, the researchers transplanted liver cells from different mice and humans into the newly created structure.
The researchers then allowed the cells to grow in mice for eight weeks, and after testing, the researchers said that all of the spleen had previously been converted into liver-like organs. The researchers removed 90 percent of liver tissue from each mouse to observe their late performance, and found that all mice carrying spleen-like organs survived for 48 hours, while the liver was reduced and the spleen was not converted.
Researchers say more research is needed before the technology can be applied to human clinical trials. But the findings could help them develop a new treatment later in life that is expected to be successful in organ transplants.