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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1996;38(3):233-7.

Exogenous hepatocyte growth factor markedly stimulates liver regeneration following portal branch ligation in dogs.

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First department of surgery, Kagoshima University School of medicine, Japan.


Portal branch ligation (PBL) or embolization prior to extensive hepatectomy has been employed to increase the functional reserve of the remaining liver. This study investigated the effects of human recombinant hepatocyte growth factor (rh-HGF) on liver regeneration following PBL in dogs. Beagle dogs were subjected to PBL and were divided into two groups, a control group (n = 11) without rh-HGF and a treated group (n = 12) receiving postoperative rh-HGF at 250 ng/kg via the portal vein. Dogs were killed 72 h or 14 days following PBL. We studied the changes in serum HGF level, DNA synthesis of the liver, hepatocyte size, liver weight, and liver function tests. In the HGF group, the ratio of whole liver weight to body weight increased significantly, and both ligated and nonligated lobes showed marked increases in weight. The nonligated lobes in the HGF group showed significant increases in both DNA synthesis and hepatocyte size. Moreover, ligated lobes in the HGF group showed an increase in DNA synthesis without hypertrophy compared with the control group. Administration of rh-HGF did not significantly affect liver function tests. Ligation of the portal branch supplying the portion of liver to be resected, coupled with the administration of rh-HGF, is a useful strategy to increase hepatic reserve in advance of major hepatectomy.

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