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Pulmonary and systemic hepatocyte and keratinocyte growth factors in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Universitari Son Dureta, Fundació Caubet-Cimera Illes Balears, Illes Balears, Spain.



The potential role of growth factors in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has begun to be addressed only recently and is still poorly understood. For this study, we investigated potential abnormalities of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) in patients with COPD.


To this end, we compared the levels of HGF and KGF, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and in serum in 18 patients with COPD (62 +/- 9 yrs, forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1] 57 +/- 12% ref, X +/- standard deviation of mean), 18 smokers with normal lung function (58 +/- 8 yrs, FEV1 90 +/- 6% ref) and 8 never smokers (67 +/- 9 yrs, 94 +/- 14% ref).


We found that in BAL, HGF levels were higher in patients with COPD than in the other two groups whereas, in serum, HGF concentration was highest in smokers with normal lung function (p < 0.01). KGF levels were not significantly different between groups, neither in blood nor in BAL (most values were below the detection limit).


These results highlight a different response of HGF in BAL and serum in smokers with and without COPD that may be relevant for tissue repair in COPD.

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