Recombinant human hepatocyte growth factor promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury

Kazuya Kitamura, Akio Iwanami, Kanehiro Fujiyoshi, Jun Ichi Yamane, Keigo Hikishima, Hiroshi Funakoshi, Toshikazu Nakamura, Masashi Aoki, Yoshiaki Toyama, Hideyuki Okano, Masaya Nakamura

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which is a potent mitogen for mature hepatocytes and a mediator of the inflammatory responses to tissue injury, was recently highlighted as a potent neurotrophic factor in the central nervous system. We revealed that introducing exogenous HGF into the injured rat spinal cord using a herpes simplex virus-1 vector significantly reduces the area of damaged tissue and promotes functional recovery. However, this rat study did not examine the therapeutic effects of administering HGF after injury, which is the most critical issue for clinical application. To translate this strategy to human treatment, we induced a contusive cervical SCI in the common marmoset, a primate, and then administered recombinant human HGF (rhHGF) intrathecally. Motor function was assessed using an original open-field scoring system focusing on manual function, including reach-and-grasp performance and hand placement in walking. The intrathecal rhHGF preserved the corticospinal fibers and myelinated areas, thereby promoting functional recovery. This study demonstrates the therapeutic effects, safety, and clinical efficacy of intrathecal rhHGF treatment for SCI in adult nonhuman primates and the possibility that this novel therapy may be suitable for clinical application.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeuroprotection and Regeneration of the Spinal Cord
PublisherSpringer Japan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9784431545026
ISBN (Print)4431545018, 9784431545019
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov 1


  • Clinical application
  • Hepatocyte growth factor
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Recombinant human hepatocyte growth factor
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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