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Gastroenterology. 1987 May;92(5 Pt 1):1243-50.

Translocation of epidermal growth factor to the hepatocyte nucleus during rat liver regeneration.


To determine the fate of exogenous epidermal growth factor (EGF) in regenerating liver, 125I-labeled EGF was injected into rat portal veins at various times after 70% hepatectomy. Epidermal growth factor was taken up by the liver remnant at all time points studied (0, 4, 8, 16, and 36 h), but at 8 h after hepatectomy a large quantity was retained by the liver and EGF degradation products appearing in the bile decreased markedly. Electron microscopic autoradiography of the regenerating livers 1 h after injection of 125I-EGF demonstrated that 27% of the grains were associated with hepatocyte nuclei compared to 0.5% in shamoperated controls. There was also a concomitant decrease in grains associated with the lysosomal compartment. Nuclei isolated from regenerating livers exposed to 125I-EGF also demonstrated a three-fold increase in radioactivity compared to nuclei from control livers. Nearly 70% of nuclear radioactivity was precipitable with a specific antibody to EGF, and a small fraction appeared to be part of a high molecular weight complex. These data support the hypothesis that during the pre-S phase of liver regeneration, EGF is translocated to the nucleus rather than to lysosomes, and may participate in the initiation of deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis or alteration of gene expression.

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