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Virchows Arch. 1997 May;430(5):407-15.

Immunohistochemical analysis of hepatocyte growth factor in human coronary atherectomy specimens: comparison with transforming growth factor beta isoforms.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Hiroshima University School of Medicine, Japan.


The expression and localization of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) were examined immunohistochemically in 59 human coronary artery lesions retrieved by directional coronary atherectomy and compared with the localization of transforming growth factor beta isoforms (TGF-beta 1, -beta 2, and -beta 3). In 21 of the 59 specimens (35.6%) HGF-like immunoreactivity (HGF-IR) was revealed. The HGF immunopositivity rate of 45% (14/31) in thrombotic tissue was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than the rates of 7.3% (4/55), 7.1% (3/42), and 0% (0/14) in fibrous tissue, neointimal hyperplasia and atheromatous gruel, respectively. Immunoreactivity for HGF was much weaker than that for TGF-beta isoforms in these components except in thrombotic tissue. These cells exhibiting strong HGF-IR were inflammatory cells such as monocytes/macrophages in thrombotic tissue, in tissue lesions adjacent to a thrombus, and outside the capillary walls in a portion of the neovascularized lesions. Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) hardly demonstrated HGF-IR. In contrast, in control coronary arteries obtained at autopsy, the HGF-IR was strongly expressed in SMCs. These findings suggest that HGF produced by macrophages play a part in the process of coronary plaque formation attributable to thrombus in man.

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