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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jan 28;280(4):2562-8. Epub 2004 Nov 8.

Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor links hepatocyte priming with cell cycle progression during liver regeneration.

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


The mechanisms that regulate the transition between the initial priming phase and DNA replication in liver regeneration are poorly understood. To study this transition, we compared events occurring after standard two-thirds partial hepatectomy, which elicits full regeneration, with response to a reduced hepatectomy, one-third partial hepatectomy (1/3PH), which leads to little DNA replication. Although the initial response to partial hepatectomy at the priming phase appeared to be similar between the two procedures, cell cycle progression was significantly blunted in 1/3PH mice. Among the main defects observed in 1/3PH mice were an almost complete deficiency in retinoblastoma phosphorylation and the lack of increase in kinase activity associated with cyclin E. We report that, in two-thirds partial hepatectomy mice, the expression of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) preceded the start of DNA replication and was not detectable in 1/3PH animals. Injection of HB-EGF into 1/3PH mice resulted in a >15-fold increase in DNA replication. Moreover, we show that hepatocyte DNA replication was delayed in HB-EGF knock-out mice. In summary, we show that HB-EGF is a key factor for hepatocyte progression through G(1)/S transition during liver regeneration.

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