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Brain Res. 2007 May 25;1147:51-65. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) promotes oligodendrocyte progenitor cell proliferation and inhibits its differentiation during postnatal development in the rat.

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Division of Molecular Regenerative Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, B-7, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) was initially cloned as a mitogen for hepatocytes and has been identified as a neurotrophic factor for a variety of neurons. However, few attempts have assessed the role of HGF in cells of oligodendrocyte lineage. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the role of HGF in such cells during development. Double immunostaining for either c-Met/HGF receptor or phospho-c-Met with either NG2 or RIP in rat striatum at postnatal day 3 (P3), P7, and P14 revealed that c-Met was phosphorylated on tyrosine residues and thereby activated in NG2(+) oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) at P3-P14 and in RIP(+) oligodendrocytes at P14. Intrastriatal injections of recombinant human HGF at both P7 and P10 revealed that the relative ratio of BrdU(+)/NG2(+) cells per total number of NG2(+) cells increased, while BrdU(+)/MBP(+) oligodendrocyte numbers decreased. Western blot analysis showed a down-regulation of myelin basic protein (MBP) after HGF injection. Electron microscopy revealed that the numbers of myelinated nerve fibers decreased after HGF treatment. Furthermore, administration of anti-HGF IgG into the striatum increased the number of BrdU(+)/MBP(+) oligodendrocytes. These findings demonstrated that HGF increases proliferation of OPCs and attenuates their differentiation into myelinating oligodendrocytes, presumably by favoring neurite outgrowth that may be inhibited by the myelin inhibitory molecules on oligodendrocytes. Down-regulation of HGF mRNA in the striatum from P7 to P14, as revealed by quantitative real-time RT-PCR, may be favorable for OPC differentiation into myelinating oligodendrocytes. Our findings suggest that c-Met signaling, together with HGF regulation, plays an important role in developmental oligodendrogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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