In contrast to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), the therapeutic potential and pathophysiologic roles of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) in liver diseases remain relatively unknown. To address the lack of effective pharmacologic treatments for cholestatic liver injuries, as well as to clarify the biologic features of these growth factors, we explored the effects of HB-EGF and HGF in mice with cholestatic liver injury induced by bile duct ligation (BDL). The mice were assessed 3, 5 and/or 14 days after BDL (acute, subacute and/or chronic phases, respectively) and intravenous injection of adenoviral vector expressing LacZ (control), HB-EGF, HGF, or HB-EGF and HGF. HB-EGF, HGF, or a combination of the growth factors exerted potent antioncotic (antinecrotic), antiapoptotic, anticholestatic, and regenerative effects on hepatocytes in vivo, whereas no robust antiapoptotic or regenerative effects were detected in interlobular bile ducts. Based on serum transaminase levels, the acute protective effects of HB-EGF on hepatocytes were greater than those of HGF. On the other hand, liver fibrosis and cholestasis during the chronic phase were more potently inhibited by HGF compared with HB-EGF. Compared with either growth factor alone, combining HB-EGF and HGF produced greater anticholestatic and regenerative effects during the chronic phase. Taken together, these findings suggest that HB-EGF and HGF inhibited BDL-induced cholestatic liver injury, predominantly by exerting acute cytoprotective and chronic antifibrotic effects, respectively; combining the growth factors enhanced the anticholestatic effects and liver regeneration during the chronic phase. Our results contribute to a better understanding of the pathophysiologic roles of HB-EGF and HGF, as well as to the development of novel effective therapies for cholestatic liver injuries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes