We reported previously that keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), a mesenchymal cell-derived paracrine growth factor, plays an important role in middle ear cholesteatoma formation, which is characterized by marked proliferation of epithelial cells. Here, we investigated whether KGF, the main factor that induces cholesteatoma, overexpression in vivo results in the formation of cholesteatoma. Flag-hKGF cDNA driven by CMV14 promoter was transfected through electroporation into the external auditory canal (EAC) of rats once (short-term model) or five times on every fourth day (long-term model). Ears transfected with empty vector were used as controls. Successful transfection of plasmids into epithelial and stromal cells was confirmed by Flag immunohistochemistry. In the short-term model, the intensity of KGF protein was the strongest in hKGF transfected ear at day 4. KGF expression induced epithelial cell proliferation, reaching a peak level at day 4 and then decreased later, while in the long-term model, KGF expression in the EAC led to middle ear cholesteatoma formation. In conclusion, we described here a new experimental model of human middle ear cholesteatoma, and demonstrated that KGF and KGF receptor paracrine action play an essential role in middle ear cholesteatoma formation in an in vivo model.