Human livers are never more than three years old

(ORDO NEWS) — According to recent studies, scientists have found that the human liver remains young even when other organs age.

The average liver is less than three years old, regardless of a person’s age. The study is published in the journal Cell Systems.

Using mathematical modeling and a method called retrospective birth radiocarbon dating, which dates human cells based on the levels of a carbon isotope that rose in the atmosphere after mid-20th century nuclear tests, scientists found that liver renewal did not largely affect how we are getting old.

This renewal is the key to the main function of the liver, which is to cleanse the body of toxic substances. This removal of waste takes its toll on the organ, but it has the unique ability to regenerate itself after damage.

“Whether you’re 20 or 84, your liver stays on average just under three years,” says Olaf Bergmann, a molecular biologist at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany.

The team analyzed post-mortem and biopsy tissue samples from more than 50 people aged 20 to 84. They found that the human body maintains tight control over liver mass throughout life by constantly replacing liver cells.

However, not all liver cells are rapidly renewed: a small part can live up to 10 years, the researchers found. This seems to be related to how many sets of chromosomes they carry.

Most of the cells in our body, apart from our germ cells, carry two copies of our entire genome. Liver cells are a strange exception, with a fraction of cells generating even more copies of our entire DNA library on top.

“When we compared typical liver cells with cells richer in DNA, we found fundamental differences in their renewal,” says Bergmann.

“Typical cells renew themselves about once a year, while DNA-rich cells can stay in the liver for up to ten years.”

“Because this fraction gradually increases with age, this may be a defense mechanism that protects us from the accumulation of deleterious mutations.

We need to find out if there are similar mechanisms in chronic liver disease, which in some cases can develop into cancer.”

This is an important new understanding of the biological mechanisms that underlie the functioning of the liver, and of course, the more we know about the organs in the body, the better we can understand how to keep them healthy and how to cure them of disease.

Researchers are also looking at other organs, including the heart, to see how quickly cells are being replaced throughout the body.

The same method of retrospective radiocarbon dating of birth can be used to accurately date cells and determine the rate of renewal.

This is one of the best methods we currently have for determining the age of human tissue using radiocarbon decay rates. As it turns out, human organs may not be that old.


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