Background: Impaired regeneration and dysfunction of the cirrhotic liver following partial hepatectomy (PHx) are the most serious risk factors for postoperative liver failure.
Aims: Using naked hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) plasmid by the electroporation (EP) in vivo method, we investigated HGF for its role and mechanism of proliferation and restoration of liver mass in cirrhotic mice following PHx.
Animals: Eight week old female mice were used.
Methods: HGF plasmid 50 μg was injected intramuscularly and transferred by EP in vivo once a week for three weeks. After establishment of carbon tetrachloride induced cirrhosis, mice underwent PHx. The HGF treated group was given naked HGF plasmid four days before PHx, and additional HGF was given once a week until they were killed, while a control group was given only empty plasmid. Mice were killed 2, 4, 10, and 14 days after PHx. Morphological and functional restoration of the liver were examined, as well as activation of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) and mRNA levels of HGF activator (HGFA).
Results: The HGF treated group demonstrated a continuous threefold increase in HGF levels in plasma. Therapy with HGF in cirrhotic PHx resulted in effective liver regeneration via restoration of HGFA and activation of MAPK p44/p42, accelerated normalisation of liver function, and increased collagen degradation.
Conclusions: HGF gene therapy by in vivo EP may be useful for hepatic resection in cirrhotic livers by stimulating liver proliferative and collagenolytic capacities, as well as accelerating functional recovery.