Further characterisation of 'hepatotropin', a high molecular weight hepatotrophic factor in rat serum

J Hepatol. 1989 Sep;9(2):167-76. doi: 10.1016/0168-8278(89)90047-0.


We report further characterisation of the hepatocyte growth factor 'hepatotropin' which is found in rat serum 24 h after partial hepatectomy. Hepatotropin enhances DNA synthesis in primary cultures of adult rat hepatocytes, and is of high molecular weight. Serum fractions were separated by gel filtration, heparin-sepharose affinity chromatography and ion-exchange chromatography. Sodium dodecylsulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) identified a band of apparent subunit relative molecular weight (Mr) 100,000 associated with biological activity, although purification to homogeneity has not been achieved. The activity is heat-labile, trypsin-sensitive, and stable to lyophilisation, but loses activity after dilution and reconcentration. In combination with known peptide hepatocyte growth modulators, hepatotropin acted synergistically with insulin and epidermal growth factor (EGF) but its action was not enhanced by glucagon. Studies on isolated rat hepatocyte membranes showed no evidence of enhanced phosphorylation of the EGF receptor by hepatotropin. The relationship of hepatotropin to previously described serum and platelet-derived growth factors is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Hepatectomy
  • Interleukin-6
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Growth Substances
  • Interleukin-6
  • Proteins