Chronic renal disease (CRD) is generally thought to be incurable, except through renal transplantation, and the number of patients with CRD is on the increase. Glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis represent the morphological equivalent of end-stage CRD. In this study, we demonstrated the preventive effect of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) on the progression of renal dysfunction and fibrosis, using a spontaneous mouse model for CRD (ICGN strain). The mice progressively developed glomerular sclerotic injury, tubular atrophy, and renal dysfunction until they were 17 wk of age. When recombinant HGF was injected into these mice during a 4-wk-period (from weeks 14-17 after birth), DNA synthesis of tubular epithelial cells was found to be 4.4-fold higher than in mice without HGF injection, thereby suggesting tubular parenchymal expansion promoted by HGF. Notably, HGF suppressed the expression of transforming growth factor-beta and of platelet-derived growth factor as well as myofibroblast formation in the affected kidney. Consequently, the onset of tubulointerstitial fibrosis was almost completely inhibited by HGF, while HGF attenuated the progression of glomerulosclerosis, both leading to preventing manifestation of renal dysfunction. From our results, supplement therapy with HGF may be taken into consideration as a novel option for prevention and treatment of CRD.