Background: Experiments in animals demonstrate an important role for interleukin-6 (IL-6) in liver regeneration. It is suggested that IL-6 initiates hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) synthesis.
Methods: The aim of the study was to examine the effect of exogenously administered recombinant human IL-6 (rhIL-6), in doses of 0.5, 1.0, 2.5, 5, 10 and 20 micrograms/kg/day, on HGF serum levels in humans. Serum HGF levels were measured on days 1, 2, 3, 8 and 15 and were correlated with serum amyloid A (SAA) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Results: Median HGF levels increased to 124% at day 3 (P < 0.05) and 157% (P < 0.05) at day 8 as compared to 100% levels at day 1. An IL-6 dose-dependent increase in HGF was found at day 8 (R = 0.53, P < 0.02). The percentual change in serum HGF level at day 8 correlated with IL-6 serum levels at day 1 R = 0.59, P < 0.01). HGF levels did not correlate with CRP and SAA.
Conclusion: In humans, rhIL-6 administration resulted in an increase in serum HGF levels.