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Abstract

Liver regeneration is regulated by growth factors, cytokines, and other endocrine and metabolic factors. Calcium is important for cell division, but its role in liver regeneration is not known. The purpose of this study was to understand the effects of cytosolic calcium signals in liver growth after partial hepatectomy (PH). The gene encoding the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV) targeted to the cytosol using a nuclear export sequence (NES), and using a discosoma red fluorescent protein (DsR) marker, was transfected into rat livers by injecting it, in recombinant adenovirus (Ad), into the portal vein. We performed two-thirds PH 4 days after Ad-PV-NES-DsR or Ad-DsR injection, and liver regeneration was analyzed. Calcium signals were analyzed with fura-2-acetoxymethyl ester in hepatocytes isolated from Ad-infected rats and in Ad-infected Hela cells. Also, isolated hepatocytes were infected with Ad-DsR or Ad-PV-NES-DsR and assayed for bromodeoxyuridine incorporation. Ad-PV-NES-DsR injection resulted in PV expression in the hepatocyte cytosol. Agonist-induced cytosolic calcium oscillations were attenuated in both PV-NES–expressing Hela cells and hepatocytes, as compared to DsR-expressing cells. Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation (S phase), phosphorylated histone 3 immunostaining (mitosis), and liver mass restoration after PH were all significantly delayed in PV-NES rats. Reduced cyclin expression and retinoblastoma protein phosphorylation confirmed this observation. PV-NES rats exhibited reduced c-fos induction and delayed extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation after PH. Finally, primary PV-NES–expressing hepatocytes exhibited less proliferation and agonist-induced cyclic adenosine monophosphate responsive element binding and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation, as compared with control cells. Conclusion: Cytosolic calcium signals promote liver regeneration by enhancing progression of hepatocytes through the cell cycle. (HEPATOLOGY 2010;)