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Acta Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Jun 28;43(3):89-98. doi: 10.1267/ahc.10006. Epub 2010 Apr 26.

Expression of keratinocyte growth factor and its receptor in rat tracheal cartilage: possible involvement in wound healing of the damaged cartilage.

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Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Translational Medical Sciences, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki 852–8523, Japan.


Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) is involved in the development and regeneration of a variety of tissues. To clarify the role of KGF in cartilage wound healing, we examined the expression of KGF and its receptor (KGFR) immunohistochemically in the wound healing area of rat tracheal cartilage, and the direct effect of recombinant KGF on the proliferation and differentiation of primary cultures of rat chondrocytes. KGF was found in the cytoplasm of both chondrocytes and perichondrial cells. On the other hand, KGFR was detected only in the plasma membrane of chondrocytes. Although the expression of KGF was similar in the cartilage and perichondrial area before and after injury, KGFR expression was induced after injury and limited to proliferating chondrocytes. The staining pattern of KGF and KGFR was same in the mature and the immature rat tracheal cartilage. Moreover, in vitro experiments using primary cultured chondrocytes revealed that KGF at 200 ng/ml significantly increased the number of chondrocytes (~1.5-fold), and significantly reduced acid mucopolysaccharide production. These results indicate that KGF stimulates chondrocyte proliferation, suggesting that KGF could therapeutically modulate the wound healing process in the tracheal cartilage.


keratinocyte growth factor; tracheal cartilage; wound repair

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