Human Tissue Regeneration Time

William Tivol tivol at
Thu Apr 18 13:09:03 EST 1996

Jascha Hoffman (jascha at wrote:

: Hello. I'm wondering how often the bulk of human tissue is regenerated. I 
: know that nerve and muscle tissue are non-regenerative, but what about 
: other kinds of tissue? And is there a universal figure for the amount of 
: time it takes until the better part of the body is made of entirely new 
: material?

Dear Jascha,
	There are two very different possible answers.  Are you interested
in when the bulk of regenerative cells are replaced or when the average
atom or molecule within a cell is replaced?  For the former, there is wide
variation among different tissues with blood & bone marrow cells being re-
placed the quickest followed by intestinal epithelia, skin, and other organs.
BTW, are you sure about muscle cells; I thought they could be increased, and,
if so, they could also be replaced.  The time frame for blood and intestine
replacement is a few weeks, and I don't know the other figures.
	The replacement of atoms within cells is much quicker in many cases.
I expect exchangable hydrogen turns over most quickly with other soluble
ions and respiratory oxygen and carbon next.  I haven't any figures, but
someone must surely have done metabolic tracer studies.
				Bill Tivol

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