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J Surg Res. 2000 Aug;92(2):261-6.

Recombinant human hepatocyte growth factor protects the liver against hepatic ischemia and reperfusion injury in rats.

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  • 1First Department of Surgery, Department of Medical Chemistry, Kansai Medical University, 10-15 Fumizonocho, Moriguchi, Osaka, 570-8507, Japan.



Recent evidence indicates that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has a cytoprotective effect against hepatic injury caused by hepatotoxins and inflammatory cytokines. Studies were performed to determine whether HGF influences the survival rate of rats subjected to hepatic warm ischemia/reperfusion (WI/Rp) injury.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to total or segmental hepatic ischemia by occluding the hepatic artery, portal vein, and bile duct with a microvascular clip. Rats were treated with four intravenous injections of recombinant human HGF (rhHGF 1 mg/kg) or the vehicle 72, 48, 24, and 12 h before surgery.


None of the eight animals in the control group were alive 12 h after total hepatic WI/Rp. Seven of eight animals in the rhHGF-treated group were alive more than 2 days after the reperfusion. In the model of segmental hepatic ischemia, rhHGF inhibited the increase in cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant in serum. The number of neutrophils infiltrating the liver was significantly lower in the rhHGF-treated group than in the control group. rhHGF prevented increases in the activity of serum alanine transaminase and in hepatic necrosis. Experiments with proliferating cell nuclear antigen staining demonstrated that hepatocyte proliferation markedly increased in rhHGF-treated rats as compared with controls.


These results indicate that HGF facilitates recovery of the liver from hepatic WI/Rp injury, at least in part through the prevention of neutrophil infiltration and the activation of hepatocyte proliferation.

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