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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1998 Apr;18(4):345-8.

Protection of hippocampal neurons from ischemia-induced delayed neuronal death by hepatocyte growth factor: a novel neurotrophic factor.

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Department of Neurosurgery, National Defense Medical College, Saitama, Japan.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a natural ligand for the c-met protooncogene product, exhibits mitogenic, motogenic, and morphogenic activities for regeneration of the liver, kidney, and lung. Recently, HGF was clearly shown to enhance neurite outgrowth in vitro. To determine whether HGF has a neuroprotective action against the death of neurons in vivo, we studied the effect of HGF on delayed neuronal death in the hippocampus after 5-minute transient forebrain ischemia in Mongolian gerbils. Continuous postischemic intrastriatal administration of human recombinant HGF (10 or 30 micrograms) for 7 days potently prevented the delayed death of hippocampal neurons under both anesthetized and awake conditions. Even when HGF infusion started 6 hours after ischemia (i.e., in a delayed manner), HGF exhibited a neuroprotective action. We conclude that HGF, a novel neurotrophic factor, has a profound neuroprotective effect against postischemic delayed neuronal death in the hippocampus, which may have implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies for ischemic neuronal damage in humans.

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