Albumin has been implicated as both an inhibitor and a stimulator of liver regeneration. We examined the rate of liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy in rats which are genetically analbuminemic. Adult male analbuminemic and Sprague-Dawley control rats underwent either a 70% partial hepatectomy or a sham operation. Twenty-four hours postoperatively, rats were injected iv with tritiated thymidine and the liver remnants were resected 1 hr later. Liver weight, protein and DNA contents, and the rate of tritiated thymidine incorporation into DNA were determined. The rate of DNA synthesis in control sham-operated rats was greater (P < 0.05) than that of an albuminemic rats. Following partial hepatectomy, there was a statistically significant (P < 0.01) increase in DNA synthesis in control rats; no significant increase was noted in the analbuminemic rats. No significant differences in liver remnant weight or protein and DNA contents were noted between control and analbuminemic sham-operated or partially hepatectomized rats. Our data suggest that albumin plays a role in the regulation of DNA synthesis in both the resting and the regenerating liver and it may be essential in maintaining a normal rate of liver regeneration.
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