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J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 13;279(7):5237-43. Epub 2003 Nov 18.

Hepatocyte growth factor protects against hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells.

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Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Hypoxia/reoxygenation causes cellular injury and death associated with a number of pathophysiological conditions, including myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury and stroke. The cell death pathways induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation and their underlying regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. Recent studies have shown that hypoxia/reoxygenation can induce Bax translocation and cytochrome c release. Using murine lung endothelial cells as a model, we found that the induction of apoptosis by hypoxia/reoxygenation involved the activation of both Bax-dependent and death receptor-mediated pathways. We demonstrated the activation of the death-inducing signal complex and Bid pathway after hypoxia/reoxygenation. Hepatocyte growth factor markedly inhibited hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced endothelial cell apoptosis. The cytoprotection afforded by hepatocyte growth factor was mediated in part by the stimulation of FLICE-like inhibiting protein expression, the attenuation of death-inducing signal complex formation, and the inhibition of Bid and Bax activation. Hepatocyte growth factor also prevented cell injury and death by increasing the expression of the antiapoptotic Bcl-XL protein. The inhibition of Bid/Bax-induced cell death by hepatocyte growth factor primarily involved p38 MAPK and in part Akt-dependent pathways but not ERK1/ERK2.

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