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J Biomed Sci. 1998;5(3):180-4.

Hepatocyte growth factor stimulates the growth and activates mitogen-activated protein kinase in human hepatoma cells.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a potent mitogen for hepatocytes and various epithelial cells. Unexpectedly, it has been reported to inhibit the growth of hepatoma cells in vitro. To clarify this phenomenon, we examined the effects of recombinant baculovirus-expressed HGF on the growth of 6 human hepatoma cell lines. The growth of Hep3B and HepG2 cells was markedly stimulated to 1.8- and 1.7-fold, respectively, PLC/PRF/5 to 1.4-fold, and SK-Hep-1 to 1.2-fold in a dose-dependent manner under HGF concentrations below 20 ng/ml. Neither HuH-7 nor HCC36 were affected. None of these cells were inhibited. All these cells expressed c-Met, the membrane receptor for HGF, and their c-Met would be activated to be phosphorylated upon addition of HGF. They also contained the ERK2 subgroup of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). When HGF was added, their ERK2 would also be phosphorylated. The extent of ERK2 phosphorylation was partially correlated to their growth response to HGF. In conclusion, HGF could stimulate the growth of certain human hepatoma cells, probably through activation of c-Met and MAPKs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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