HGF (Hepatocyte Growth Factor) is a protein factor presented in the acute hepatic injury animal plasma. HGF can stimulate liver cell to synthesize DNA and play an important role in the process of liver regeneration. Different from HSS (Hepatic Stimulatory Substance), HGF is not only applied to liver regeneration but to regulate a lot of tissue and cell growth, differentiation.
AS early as 1964, researchers had found that there was something playing a role in liver regeneration after liver resection. Until 1984, Micha Lopoulos found that, after liver resection, some substance in rat plasma could stimulate liver cell for DNA synthesis. The substance was named as HPTA (Hepatopoietin). Then, Nakamura isolated some similar thing as HPTA from rat platelets. They named them as tlGF. In 1988, Gohda isolated huHGF from fulminant hepatic failure patients' plasma. Further studies show that these substances have similar gene sequence and amino acid sequence, so they are the same kind of material. Hepatic stimulating factor in plasma is named HGF as a kind of new Growth Factor.
HGF concentration would increase rapidly when animals have an acute liver damage. Through IHC, Zarnegar proved that HGF existed in a variety of tissues and cells. HGF mainly exist in the pancreatic acinar cells, neuron, thyroid cells, Saliva pancreatic duct cells and Brunner glands of duodenal pancreatic duct cells. These tissues and cells secrete HGF. Through blood circulation, HGF participates in regulating liver cell growth. Another method to study the distribution of HGF in vivo is HGF-mRNA detection. The result showed that HGF-mRNA existed in rat lung, liver and brains. In human, HGF also exists in placenta and embryonic lung fibroblasts.