Hepatocyte growth factor enhances endothelial cell barrier function and cortical cytoskeletal rearrangement: Potential role of glycogen synthase kinase-3β

Feng Liu, Kane L. Schaphorst, Alexander D. Verin, Keri Jacobs, Anna Birukova, Regina M. Day, Natalia Bogatcheva, D. P. Bottaro, Joe G.N. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

140 Scopus citations


The stabilization of endothelial cell (EC) barrier function within newly formed capillaries is a critical feature of angiogenesis. We examined human lung EC barrier regulation elicited by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a recognized angiogenic factor and EC chemoattractant. HGF rapidly and dose-dependently elevated transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) of EC monolayers (>50% increase at 100 ng/ml), with immunofluorescence microscopic evidence of both cytoplasmic actin stress fiber dissolution and strong augmentation of the cortical actin ring. HGF rapidly stimulated phosphatidylinositol 3′-kinase, ERK, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and protein kinase C activities. Pharmacological inhibitor studies demonstrated each pathway to be intimately involved in HGF-induced increases in TER, cortical actin thickening, and phosphorylation of the Ser/Thr glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), a potential target for the HGF barrier-promoting response. GSK-3β phosphorylation was strongly correlated with reductions in both HGF-induced TER and enhanced β-catenin immunoreactivity observed at cell-cell junctions. Our data suggest a model in which HGF-mediated EC cytoskeletal rearrangement and barrier enhancement depend critically on the activation of a complex kinase cascade that converges at GSK-3β to increase the availability of β-catenin, thereby enhancing endothelial junctional integrity and vascular barrier function.-Liu, F., Schaphorst, K. L., Verin, A. D., Jacobs, K., Birukova, A., Day, R. M., Bogatcheva, N., Bottaro, D. P., Garcia, J. G. N. Hepatocyte growth factor enhances endothelial cell barrier function and cortical cytoskeletal rearrangement: potential role of glycogen synthase kinase-3β.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-962
Number of pages13
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 22 2002



  • Cytoskeleton
  • Endothelial permeability
  • MAP kinases
  • Transendothelial electrical resistance
  • β-Catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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