Hepatocyte growth factor and its actions in growth plate chondrocytes

Robert M. Grumbles, D. S. Howell, L. Wenger, Roy D Altman, G. A. Howard, Bernard A Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been implicated as a paracrine regulator of organogenesis and repair in many tissues. Here we have studied the expression and actions of HGF in intact rachitic rat growth plate and derived cultures of proliferative zone chondrocytes. In vivo and in vitro chondrocytes express HGF mRNA; 1,25(OH)2 has a three-fold maximal stimulatory effect, which can be blocked by H-7, an inhibitor of protein kinase C. Although HGF elaboration and action generally follow a paracrine model, chondrocytes appear capable of both expressing and responding to HGF. mRNA encoding the HGF receptor (c-met) was detected in both growth cartilage and derived chondrocyte cultures. HGF addition to chondrocyte cultures increased collagen II mRNA and alkaline phosphatase enzymatic activity to degrees comparable to that observed for active vitamin D metabolites. Combining HGF and 1,25-D evoked a synergistic response (ninefold) of alkaline phosphatase activity. To assess whether a similar stimulatory effect might be seen with bioactive peptides and HGF, we investigated the effect of HGF pretreatment on acute responses of chondrocytes to synthetic human calcitonin, an anabolic chondrocyte regulator whose skeletal action are mediated principally by cAMP elevation and subsequent protein kinase A activation. CT's maximal activation of protein kinase A was increased by prior HGF treatment from 56% to 78%. In concert, our findings indicate that in addition to HGF's classical paracrine role during skeletal growth, this growth factor may modulate hormonal sensitivity of the chondrocyte during proliferation, differentiation, and/or apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • Alkaline phosphatase
  • Chondrocyte
  • Collagen type II
  • Hepatocyte growth factor
  • Protein kinase A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hematology


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