Ahmet, I., Y. Sawa, T. Yamaguchi and H. Matsuda. Gene transfer of hepatocyte growth factor improves angiogenesis and function of chronic ischemic myocardium in canine heart. Ann Thorac Surg. 75:1283-7, 2003.

BACKGROUND: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induces angiogenesis in myocardium. In the present study, its effects in chronic ischemic myocardium were tested. METHODS: Four weeks after left anterior descending coronary artery ligation in canine hearts, HVJ-liposome containing either human HGF gene (160 microg; HGF group, n = 7) or nothing (control group, n = 6) was directly injected into ischemic myocardium. Four weeks after gene transfection, the thickness fraction (TF), an index of regional myocardial contractility (assessed by epicardial pulse-Doppler crystals), the myocardial perfusion flow (assessed by color microspheres), and the capillary density (assessed by immunostaining of vessels) were evaluated in ischemic myocardium. RESULTS: Thickness fraction (percent of nonischemic myocardium) was significantly improved in the HGF group (80 +/- 15 from 52 +/- 16 of pregene; p < 0.05) whereas it was not changed in the control group (52 +/- 10 from 50 +/- 8 of pregene). The perfusion flow (% of nonischemic myocardium) was significantly improved in the HGF group (98 +/- 17 from 51 +/- 14 of pregene; p < 0.05) while it was not changed in the Control group (58 +/- 13 from 62 +/- 18 of pregene). The capillary density was significantly higher in the HGF group (894 +/- 211/mm2; p < 0.05) than that in the control group (511 +/- 127/mm2). CONCLUSIONS: Gene transfection of HGF improved angiogenesis, thereby improved regional myocardial function and perfusion in chronic ischemic myocardium. It indicates a potent therapeutic value of HGF gene transfection for chronic ischemic heart diseases such as myocardial infarction.