Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a growth-promoting peptide that appears to act in a renotropic and nephroprotective manner during acute renal damage. Recent studies suggest that HGF is also of importance in chronic renal diseases. The serum HGF level is correlated with serum creatinine, and it has been suggested that glomerular and tubular diseases affect serum HGF differently. In the present study. levels of serum HGF were determined and correlated to glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in 118 patients with various chronic renal diseases. GFR was determined by 99mTc-DTPA clearance, and the GFR values were evenly distributed in the interval 5-155 mL/min/1.73 m2. Serum HGF levels increased slightly with decreasing GFR: the Pearson correlation coefficient being 0.49 (p<0.0001). In 21 additional patients with end-stage renal disease treated with continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis, there was a more marked increase in the serum levels of HGF. The effect of glomerular and tubular diseases on serum HGF was examined by comparing the HGF levels in two groups of patients with similar GFR values: 57 patients with mainly glomerular disorders (diabetic nephropathy with micro- or macroalbuminuria or glomerulonephritis) and 14 patients with mainly tubular disorders (polycystic kidney disease). There was no significant difference between the HGF levels of the two groups (p=0.30).
In conclusion: Serum HGF levels are correlated with GFR (for GFR > or = 5 mL/min/1.73 m2) in patients with chronic renal diseases, and glomerular and tubular disorders seem to affect the HGF level similarly.