Nutritional modulation of mouse and human liver bud growth through a branched-chain amino acid metabolism

Posted on Posted in AMRC Research

Date: 22 Mar 2017


Liver bud progenitors experience a transient amplification during the early organ growth phase, yet the mechanism responsible is not fully understood. Collective evidence highlights the specific requirements in stem cell metabolism for expanding organ progenitors during organogenesis and regeneration. Here, transcriptome analyses show that progenitors of the mouse and human liver bud growth stage specifically express the gene branched chain aminotransferase 1, encoding a known breakdown enzyme of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) for energy generation. Global metabolome analysis confirmed the active consumption of BCAAs in the growing liver bud, but not in the later fetal or adult liver. Consistently, maternal dietary restriction of BCAAs during pregnancy significantly abrogated the conceptus liver bud growth capability through a striking defect in hepatic progenitor expansion. Under defined conditions, the supplementation of L-valine specifically among the BCAAs promoted rigorous growth of the human liver bud organoid in culture by selectively amplifying self-renewing bi-potent hepatic progenitor cells. These results highlight a previously underappreciated role of branched-chain amino acid metabolism in regulating mouse and human liver bud growth that can be modulated by maternal nutrition in vivo or cultural supplement in vitro.


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For inquiries regarding this press release

Takanori TAKEBE

E-mail:   Phone: +81 45 787 2672



E-mail:   Phone: +81 45 787 2672


Department of Regenerative Medicine,
Yokohama City University School of Medicine

Fukuura 3-9, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, 236-0004 JAPAN