Hypoxia regulates expression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) by increasing its transcription and by stabilizing its mRNA. Despite the pivotal role of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) in transcriptional activation of hypoxia-responsive genes, it is not known whether HIF-1 mediates hypoxia-induced stabilization of HGF mRNA. We constructed adenoviral vectors expressing either the wild-type HIF-1alpha (Ad2/HIF-1alpha/FL), a constitutively stable hybrid form of HIF-1alpha (Ad2/HIF-1alpha/VP16), or no transgene (Ad2/CMVEV). In rat glioma (C6) cells, human glioma (U251) cells human cardiac, vascular smooth muscle, and endothelial cells, infection with Ad2/HIF-1alpha/VP16 or Ad2/HIF-1alpha/FL increased HGF expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Under normoxic conditions, the half-life of HGF mRNA was 43 min in C6 and U251 cells. Hypoxia and Ad2/HIF-1alpha/VP16 increased the half-life of HGF mRNA to 3.2 and 2.8 h, respectively, while Ad2/CMVEV had no effect. These studies are the first to demonstrate that overexpression of HIF-1alpha increases HGF mRNA stability. Our results also suggest that stabilization of HGF mRNA by hypoxia is mediated, at least in part, by HIF-1.