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Int J Mol Med. 2006 Mar;17(3):503-9.

Repeated intravenous injection of recombinant human hepatocyte growth factor ameliorates liver cirrhosis but causes albuminuria in rats.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, Faculty of Medicine, University of Miyazaki, Japan.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a promising agent for the treatment of liver cirrhosis because of its mitogenic and anti-fibrotic effects. We investigated the effect of recombinant human HGF (rh-HGF) on cirrhosis development; its pharmacokinetics and nephrotoxicity in rats with liver cirrhosis induced by 4-week treatment with dimethylnitrosamine (DMN). rh-HGF (0.3 mg/kg) was intravenously administered to rats once a day for 4 weeks in parallel with DMN treatment or twice a day for the last 2 weeks of DMN treatment. Repeated doses of rh-HGF increased the liver weight and serum albumin, and reduced serum ALT. The development of hepatic fibrosis was inhibited more efficiently by extended low-dose treatment with rh-HGF. In cirrhotic rats, serum levels of rh-HGF increased and clearance was decreased, leading to an increase in the area under the plasma-concentration time curve and a decrease in the steady-state volume of distribution. Repeated doses of rh-HGF led to increased urinary albumin excretion, but no rh-HGF-treated animals developed increased serum creatinine levels. Urinary albumin excretion returned to baseline after the cessation of rh-HGF. These results suggest that extended treatment with rh-HGF is required for the attenuation of cirrhosis, and repeated doses of rh-HGF cause adverse effects in extra-hepatic organs. These issues must be resolved before the widespread application of rh-HGF in the treatment of liver cirrhosis.

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