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J Cell Physiol. 1996 Jan;166(1):105-11.

Basic fibroblast growth factor stimulates hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor secretion by human mesenchymal cells.

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Pharmacia Biopharmaceuticals-BioScience Center, Nerviano, Italy.


Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) together with other pleiotropic factors plays an important role in many complex physiological processes such as embryonic development, angiogenesis, and wound repair. Among these factors, hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) which is secreted by cells of mesodermal origin exerts its mito- and motogenic activities on cells of epithelial and endothelial origin. Knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms of HGF/SF may contribute to the understanding of its role in physio-pathological processes. We observed that the secretion of HGF/SF by MRC-5 cells and by other fibroblast-derived cell cultures in conditioned media was enhanced by exposure to bFGF. HGF/SF was measured by the scatter assay, a bioassay for cell motility, and was further characterized by Western blot analysis with anti-HGF/SF antibodies. Exposure of MRC-5 cultures to 10 ng/ml of bFGF resulted already 6 h posttreatment in a threefold higher amount of scatter factor secreted into the medium as compared to untreated cultures. HGF/SF secretion was sustained after bFGF treatment for the following 72 h when increased amounts of HGF/SF were detected both in conditioned media as well as associated to the extracellular matrix. The secretion of HGF/SF in cell supernatants increased dose dependently upon treatment with bFGF starting from basal levels of 6 U/ml and reaching 27 U/ml at 30 ng/ml bFGF, plateauing thereafter. Upregulation of HGF/SF by IL-1, already described by others, was confirmed in this study. Based on our findings an articulated interaction can be speculated for bFGF, HGF/SF, and IL-1, e.g., in tissue regeneration during inflammatory processes or in wound healing.

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