Hepatoma-derived growth factor (HDGF) is suggested to be involved in organ development and exhibits proliferative, angiogenic, and neurotrophic activity. The in vivo functions are, however, so far unknown. In this study, we generated HDGF-deficient mice, in which parts of the HDGF gene were replaced by a gene encoding green fluorescent protein (eGFP). HDGF-/- mice are viable with no apparent morphological abnormalities. Cultured HDGF-deficient dermal fibroblasts show unaltered proliferation rates and cell-cycle distributions. In contrast to previous studies, our data demonstrate that signal pathways involved in the response to extracellular HDGF do not depend on the presence of intracellular HDGF. Contrary to the reported role of HDGF as a modulator of apoptosis, similar apoptotic rates were found between wild-type and HDGF-deficient fibroblasts following tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) -induced apoptosis or cellular stress. The lack of obvious biochemical and morphological phenotypes in HDGF-deficient mice demonstrates that in vivo HDGF is dispensable for normal development in mice.