Modulation of Hepatocyte Growth Factor Secretion in Human Female Reproductive Tract Stromal Fibroblasts by Poly (I:C) and Estradiol


John V. Fahey, Physiology Department, Dartmouth Medical School, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA. E-mail:


Citation Coleman KD, Ghosh M, Crist SG, Wright JA, Rossoll RM, Wira CR, Fahey JV. Modulation of Hepatocyte Growth Factor secretion in human female reproductive tract stromal fibroblasts by poly (I:C) and estradiol. Am J Reprod Immunol 2012; 67: 44–53


Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) secretion facilitates epithelial cell growth and development in the female reproductive tract (FRT) and may contribute to pathological conditions such as cancer and endometriosis. We hypothesized that estradiol and poly (I:C), a synthetic RNA mimic, may have a regulatory effect on HGF secretion by stromal fibroblasts from FRT tissues.

Method of study

Following hysterectomies, normal tissue from the uterus, endocervix, and ectocervix were dispersed into stromal cell fractions by enzymatic digestion and differential filtering. Stromal fibroblasts were cultured and treated with estradiol and/or poly (I:C), and conditioned media were analyzed for HGF via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Treating uterine fibroblasts with estradiol or poly (I:C) significantly increased HGF secretion. When uterine fibroblasts were co-treated with estradiol and poly (I:C), the effect on HGF secretion was additive. In contrast, stromal fibroblasts from endo- and ecto-cervix were unresponsive to estradiol, but were stimulated to secrete HGF by poly (I:C).


HGF secretion is uniquely regulated in the uterus, but not in ecto- and endo-cervix, by estradiol. Moreover, potential viral pathogens further induce HGF. These findings have potential applications in understanding both hormonal regulation of normal tissue as well as the role of HGF in tumorogenesis, endometriosis, and human immunodeficiency virus infection.