Purpose: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor (HGFR/c-Met) regulate motility, mitogenesis, and morphogenesis in a cell type-dependent fashion. We report the role of HGF and c-Met on stress-induced ARPE-19 human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells in this study. Methods: The cells were cultured either with or without serum. Southern and Western blot analyses were done to determine the expression patterns of HGF/c-Met in serum-starved ARPE-19 cells. The cell proliferation pattern in serum-starved condition was analyzed using MTS assay. Inhibition level of cell proliferation was analyzed using a neutralizing monoclonal antibody against c-Met (2 μg/ml). Results: Abnormal cell proliferation and scattering of ARPE-19 cells was observed under serum starvation. HGF/c-Met were expressed in serum-starved ARPE-19 cells. ARPE-19 cell proliferation was also enhanced with recombinant HGF treatment. Neutralization against c-Met inhibited the proliferation of serum-deprived ARPE-19 by 64.5% (n=9, S.D. 5.5%). Serum starvation appears to induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition of ARPE-19 cells, resulting in scatter, and the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), a marker for fibrosis. Conclusions: In conclusion, c-Met induced under non-physiologic conditions has significant effects on the activation of RPE cells.
Materials and Methods