Stage-specific elevated expression of the genes for hepatocyte growth factor, keratinocyte growth factor, and their receptors during the morphogenesis and differentiation of rat stomach mucosa

Yasuo Matsubara, Masao Ichinose, Masae Tatematsu, Masutaro Ichinose, Masashi Oka, Naohisa Yahagi, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Takashi Kageyama, Kazumasa Miki, Hiroshi Fukamachi

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Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) are two factors considered to be involved in the morphogenesis of several organs. To understand the role of HGF and KGF in the stomach development, we analyzed changes in the levels of expression of the genes for the two growth factors and their receptors in the fetal rat stomach by competitive RT-PCR. Resembling our previous results for HGF, the expression of the genes for KGF and its receptor was observed in the mesenchyme and epithelium of 16.5 day fetal stomach, respectively, indicating the possibility that KGF mediates the epithelial-mesenchymal interaction in the early stage of stomach development. The developmental profile of the expression of the genes for the two growth factors and their receptors were different, indicating a difference in their roles; the genes for HGF and c-met, the receptor for HGF, are expressed mainly during the morphogenetic period, while the genes for KGF and its receptor mainly after the morphogenetic period. Thus, it is probable that HGF controls the proliferation of epithelial cells during the morphogenetic process. The expression of the genes for KGF and its receptor is not correlated with epithelial proliferation during morphogenesis, but it does appear to be linked with epithelial differentiation. These results, together with the absence of significant mitogenic effect of KGF on the epithelial cells of the fetal rat glandular stomach in vitro, suggest a role for KGF as a differentiation factor. In addition, the expression profile of the genes for KGF and its receptor towards the end of fetal period appears to be closely correlated with that of mesenchymal cell proliferation, suggesting another role for the growth factor that is not regulated by the epithelial-mesenchymal interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996 May 24
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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