Background: Recent reports suggest that donor age might have a major impact on recipient outcome in adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT), but the reasons underlying this effect remain unclear. The aims of this study were to compare liver regeneration between young and aged living donors and to evaluate the number of Thy-1+ cells, which have been reported to be human hepatic progenitor cells. Methods: LDLT donors were divided into 2 groups (Group O, donor age ≥ 50 years, n = 6 and Group Y, donor age ≤ 30 years, n = 9). The remnant liver regeneration rates were calculated on the basis of computed tomography volumetry on postoperative days 7 and 30. Liver tissue samples were obtained from donors undergoing routine liver biopsy or patients undergoing partial hepatectomy for metastatic liver tumors. Thy-1+ cells were isolated and counted using immunomagnetic activated cell sorting (MACS) technique. Results: Donor liver regeneration rates were significantly higher in young donors compared to old donors (P =.042) on postoperative day 7. Regeneration rates were significantly higher after right lobe resection compared to rates after left lobe resection. The MACS findings showed that the number of Thy-1+ cells in the human liver consistently tended to decline with age. Conclusion: Our study revealed that liver regeneration is impaired with age after donor hepatectomy, especially after right lobe resection. The declining hepatic progenitor cell population might be one of the reasons for impaired liver regeneration in aged donors.
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