Serum Hepatocyte Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor in Children with Acute Liver Failure

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Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a potent mitogen, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a potent angiogenic factor, may play roles in hepatocyte regeneration in patients with acute liver failure (ALF). The aim of this study was to investigate serum levels of HGF and VEGF in children with ALF.

Patients and Methods:

Serum samples were collected on admission from 25 children with ALF (median age, 11.1 y; range, 1.3–17.1 y; 11 male, 14 female) and 12 normal children (9.1 y; range, 5.4–15.4 y; 6 male, 6 female). Aetiology of ALF was 13 non-A to E hepatitis, 3 viral, 3 toxic, and 6 other. HGF and VEGF in sera were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Median HGF levels in patients (10,157 pg/mL; range, 3412–73,420 pg/mL) were significantly higher than in controls (855 pg/mL, 510–1253 pg/mL; P < 0.001). Median VEGF levels in patients (164 pg/mL, 0–1588 pg/mL) were not significantly different from those in controls (214 pg/mL, 11–527 pg/mL). There was no relationship of HGF or VEGF levels to the aetiology of liver failure. There was a positive correlation between serum HGF and international normalized ratio (r = 0.73, P < 0.001), but not with levels of serum aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin, or VEGF. There was no correlation between VEGF levels and international normalized ratio, aspartate aminotransferase or bilirubin.


Serum levels of HGF but not VEGF are increased in children with acute liver failure.

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