Maternal hepatic growth response to pregnancy in the mouse.
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Pregnancy is characterized by physiological adjustments in the maternal compartment. In this investigation, the influence of pregnancy on maternal liver was examined in CD-1 mice. Dramatic changes were observed in the size of the maternal liver during pregnancy. Livers doubled in weight from the non-pregnant state to day 18 of pregnancy. The pregnancy-induced hepatomegaly was a physiological event of liver growth confirmed by DNA content increase and detection of hepatocyte hyperplasia and hypertrophy. Growth of the liver was initiated following implantation and peaked at parturition. The expression and/or activities of key genes known to regulate liver regeneration, a phenomenon of liver growth compensatory to liver mass loss, were investigated. The results showed that pregnancy-dependent liver growth was associated with interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor , c-Jun and IL-1, but independent of hepatocyte growth factor, fibroblast growth factor 1, tumor necrosis factor receptor 1, constitutive androstane receptor and pregnane X receptor. Furthermore, maternal liver growth was associated with the activation of hepatic signal transducer and activator of transcription 3, -catenin and epidermal growth factor receptor, but pregnancy did not activate hepatic c-Met. The findings suggest that the molecular mechanisms regulating pregnancy-induced liver growth and injury-induced liver regeneration exhibit overlapping features but are not identical. In summary, the liver of the mouse adapts to the demands of pregnancy via a dramatic growth response driven by hepatocyte proliferation and size increase.