Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) are believed to be of major importance for hepatic regeneration after liver damage. We have studied the effect of these growth factors on fructose 2,6-bisphosphate (Fru-2,6-P2) levels and the expression of 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase (6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase) in rat hepatocyte primary cultures. Our results demonstrate that HGF activates the expression of the 6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase gene by increasing the levels of its mRNA. As a consequence of this activation, the amount of 6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase protein and 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase activity increased, which was reflected by a rise in Fru-2,6-P2 levels. In contrast, TGF-β decreased the levels of 6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase mRNA, which led to a decrease in the amount of 6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase protein and Fru-2,6-P2. The different actions of HGF and TGF-β on 6PF2K/Fru-2,6-BPase gene expression are concomitant with their effect on cell proliferation. Here we show that, in the absence of hormones, primary cultures of hepatocytes express the F-type isoenzyme. In addition, HGF increases the expression of this isoenzyme, and dexamethasone activates the L-type isoform. HGF and TGF-β were able to inhibit this activation.

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