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Endocrinology. 1997 Nov;138(11):4683-9.

Insulin-like growth factors stimulate expression of hepatocyte growth factor but not transforming growth factor beta1 in cultured hepatic stellate cells.

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Research Center for Endocrinology and Metabolism, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.


Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are located adjacent to hepatocytes and produce hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in the normal liver, whereas transformed HSC in fibrotic livers produce transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1), an inhibitor ofhepatocyte proliferation. In addition to the endocrine actions of hepatic insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), it also stimulates the proliferation of HSC. In this study we found that addition of IGF-1 (20-500 ng/ml) for 48 h to 2- to 7-day-old primary cultures of rat HSC resulted in a time- and dose-dependent increase by 50-190% of the concentrations of immunoreactive HGF in the medium. The levels of HGF as well as DNA synthesis measured as thymidine incorporation were also enhanced by IGF-II and des(1-3)IGF-I, which has reduced binding to IGF binding proteins. There was no consistent effect of the IGFs on the levels of immunoreactive TGFbeta1 or on the total DNA content of the cultures. There was no effect of human GH on medium levels of HGF or TGFbeta1, thymidine incorporation, or total DNA content. IGF-I increased the abundance of HGF messenger RNA, as measured by the RNase protection/solution hybridization technique, whereas there was no effect on TGFbeta1 or glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase messenger RNA. The results suggest that IGFs stimulate the production of HGF but not TGFbeta1 by HSC in vitro.

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