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Gastroenterology. 2003 Mar;124(3):701-7.

Liver regeneration in heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor transgenic mice after partial hepatectomy.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Molecular Science, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan.



Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a member of the EGF family, is synthesized in the form of a membrane-anchored precursor (proHB-EGF), which subsequently is processed proteolytically to mature HB-EGF. This study describes the effects of HB-EGF on liver regeneration after 70% partial hepatectomy in proHB-EGF transgenic mice with liver-specific expression.


No significant differences in liver/body weight ratios and in bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeling index (the ratios of BrdU-positive hepatocyte nuclei) were found between adult transgenic and wild-type mice. However, in regenerating liver after partial hepatectomy, transgenic mice had higher liver/body weight ratios than wild-type mice and at 120 hours reached a level equal to that before partial hepatectomy. The BrdU-labeling index was about 5 times higher in the livers of transgenic mice compared with the wild type (51.5% vs. 10.2%, respectively; P < 0.01) at 48 hours after partial hepatectomy. Activation of microtubule-associated protein kinase after partial hepatectomy was higher and earlier in the transgenic mice as compared with the wild-type mice. Soluble HB-EGF was increased in the liver (at 8 min) after partial hepatectomy, indicating that the shedding of proHB-EGF occurred after partial hepatectomy.


The transgenic expression of HB-EGF accelerates the proliferation of hepatocytes after partial hepatectomy, suggesting that HB-EGF functions as a hepatotrophic factor in vivo.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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