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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1995 Sep;32(2):197-210.

Localization and functional coupling of HGF and c-Met/HGF receptor in rat brain: implication as neurotrophic factor.

Author information

1
Division of Biochemistry, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.

Abstract

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a natural ligand for the c-met protooncogene product, has mitogenic, motogenic and morphogenic activities for various cell types and functions as a organotrophic factor for regeneration of the liver, kidney and lung. We obtained evidence that HGF may function as a novel neurotrophic factor in the central nervous system. Northern blot analysis showed that 6 kb HGF mRNA and 9 kb c-Met/HGF receptor mRNA are expressed in various regions of the adult rat brain. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that intense hybridization signals for HGF mRNA were localized in cerebral cortex, hippocampus and amygdala. Consistently, specific localization of HGF protein in neurons of these regions was detected by immunohistochemical analysis and non-neuronal glial cells in cingulum, cerebellum, pons and medulla were also specifically stained. Specific intense hybridization signals for c-Met/HGF receptor mRNA were also widely distributed in the brain, including neurons of olfactory bulb, cerebral cortex, primary olfactory cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum. On the basis of the co-expression of HGF and c-Met/HGF receptor in hippocampal neurons, we found that HGF prolonged survival of embryonic hippocampal neurons in primary culture: HGF elicited maximal surviving effect at 0.5-1 ng/ml and the potency was comparable to that of nerve growth factor. More importantly, expression of both HGF and c-Met/HGF receptor mRNAs was markedly induced in response to cerebral ischemic injury. We propose that HGF functions as a neurotrophic factor in the central nervous system and that this neurotrophic function may have a role in the survival and reconstruction of specific neurons in response to cerebral injury.

PMID:
7500831
DOI:
10.1016/0169-328x(95)00075-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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