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Neuroscience. 2004;128(1):155-62.

Hepatocyte growth factor as an enhancer of nmda currents and synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus.

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Laboratory of Chemical Pharmacology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) promotes the survival and migration of immature neurons, but its role in the mature brain has remained elusive. In the hippocampus of juvenile rats, we found that the HGF receptor c-Met was expressed in neurons. Furthermore, it was highly Tyr-phosphorylated, more so than in the liver under normal conditions, suggesting that the receptor is activated and that HGF may act continuously in the intact brain. Exogenously applied HGF enhanced synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of hippocampus, but did not affect long-term depression. We further found that HGF augmented N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated currents in both slices and dissociated neurons. This augmentation is likely to underlie the enhancement of LTP. Considering that the expression of both HGF and c-Met are known to be induced by ischemic stimuli, this modulation would provide a novel understanding of a neuronal regulatory systems shared with pathogenic ischemic states.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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