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Open Access Research article

Hepatocyte growth factor levels in Legionella pneumonia: A retrospective study

Futoshi Higa*, Morikazu Akamine, Makoto Furugen, Kenji Hibiya, Michio Koide, Maki Tamayose, Yuichiro Tamaki, Syusaku Haranaga, Noriko Arakaki, Satomi Yara, Masao Tateyama and Jiro Fujita

Author Affiliations

Department of Infectious, Respiratory, and Digestive Medicine, Control and Prevention of Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0215, Japan

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:74  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-74

Published: 23 March 2011



Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is known to be involved in the resolution of pulmonary inflammation and repair of acute lung injury. Legionella pneumonia is sometimes complicated by acute lung injury. Our study aimed to determine the role of serum HGF levels in Legionella pneumonia.


Sera from patients with Legionella pneumonia (42 cases), other bacterial pneumonia (33 cases), pulmonary tuberculosis (19 cases), and normal controls (29 cases) were collected. The serum HGF levels for each serum sample were determined by sandwich ELISA. Clinical and laboratory data were collected by reviewing the medical charts.


Serum HGF levels were higher in patients with Legionella pneumonia than in those with other bacterial pneumonia, pulmonary tuberculosis, and controls. The HGF levels were compared with white blood cell counts, C-reactive protein, Alanine amino- transferase, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). The HGF levels were correlated to serum LDH levels. Moreover, serum HGF levels were significantly higher in non-survivors than in survivors.


HGF levels increased in severer pneumonia caused by Legionella, suggesting that HGF might play a significant role in the Legionella pneumonia.