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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1991 May 31;177(1):559-65.

Expression of hepatocyte growth factor mRNA in regenerating rat liver after partial hepatectomy.

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Duke University Medical Center, Department of Pathology, Durham, NC 27710.


Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) is a potent complete mitogen for primary cultures of hepatocytes in vitro. There is strong evidence that this novel growth factor may mediate hepatocyte regeneration after liver damage. We have shown previously that the amount of immunoreactive HGF markedly increases in the serum of rats soon after partial hepatectomy or CCl4 administration. In the present paper, we demonstrate that the level of HGF mRNA in rat liver also dramatically increases from 3 to 6 hours post hepatectomy, peaks at 12 hr and gradually returns to undetectable levels by 72 to 96 hours post hepatectomy. In separate experiments, DNA synthesis (in vivo) was determined in rat liver remnants after partial hepatectomy. DNA synthesis peaked 24 hr after hepatectomy, 12 hr after the peak of HGF mRNA expression. These results suggest that HGF may be one of the major early signals that triggers hepatocyte proliferation during liver regeneration.

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