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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Dec 7;1643(1-3):37-46.

Hepatocyte growth factor activates several transduction pathways in rat pancreatic acini.

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Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Extremadura, Avda. de la Universidad, s/n 10071 Cáceres, Spain.


The receptor of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), c-met induces different physiological responses in several cell types. Little is known about the role of HGF in exocrine pancreas. However, abnormal HGF signaling has been strongly implicated in pancreatic tumorigenesis and association of HGF with pancreatitis has been demonstrated. We have studied the presence of c-met and activation of their intracellular pathways associated in rat pancreatic acini in comparison with cholecystokinin (CCK) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). C-met expression in rat exocrine pancreas was identified by immunohistochemistry and immunoprecipitation followed by Western analysis. Tyrosine phosphorylation of c-met is strongly stimulated as well as kinase pathways leading to ERK1/2 cascade. HGF, but not CCK or EGF, selectively caused a consistent increase in the amount of p85 regulatory subunit of PI3-K present in anti-phosphotyrosine immunoprecipitates. Downstream of PI3-K, HGF increased Ser473 phosphorylation of Akt selectively, as CCK or EGF did not affect it. HGF selectively stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of phosphatase PTP1D. HGF failed to promote the well-known CCK effects in pancreatic acini such as amylase secretion and intracellular calcium mobilization. Although HGF shares activation of ERK1/2 with CCK, we demonstrate that it promotes the selective activation of intracellular pathways not regulated by CCK or EGF. Our results suggest that HGF is an in vivo stimulus of pancreatic acini and provide novel insight into the transduction pathways and effects of c-met/HGF in normal pancreatic acinar cells.

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