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Cell Growth Differ. 1993 Jul;4(7):571-9.

Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor is an autocrine factor for human normal bronchial epithelial and lung carcinoma cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Montreal General Hospital, Quebec, Canada.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) or scatter factor (SF) has been considered primarily as an endocrine/paracrine factor. We report here that HGF/SF mRNA was expressed by cultured human normal bronchial epithelial cells and many non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Scatter activity was detected in the culture media of these cells, and this activity was inhibited by a neutralizing anti-recombinant human HGF antiserum. Immunostaining confirmed the presence of immunoreactive human HGF-like protein in the cytoplasm of these cultured cells, and in ciliated columnar epithelium of normal human bronchus/bronchioles. The met/HGF/SF receptor of these cultured cells was constitutively phosphorylated on tyrosine residues. A neutralizing anti-recombinant human HGF antiserum decreased the phosphorylation of the receptor, inhibited the proliferation of 45% of the non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines studied, and stimulated the proliferation of normal bronchial epithelial cells. Altogether, the data demonstrate that HGF/SF and/or HGF-like protein is an autocrine factor for normal and neoplastic human bronchial epithelial cells in culture.

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