ABSTRACT Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) can induce proliferation and migration of intestinal epithelial cells and has also been shown to be important in wound healing of inflamed mucosal tissues. HGF is known to be expressed along with interleukin-1 (IL-1) by inflamed mucosal tissues, yet the effect of HGF on IL-1-induced proinflammatory cytokine responses by colonic epithelial cells is unknown. In this report, we have examined the effect of HGF on IL-1-induced secretion of IL-8 by the Caco-2 colonic epithelial cell line. HGF stimulation alone had no effect on the secretion of IL-8 by the Caco-2 cells. However, culture of the cells with HGF and suboptimal levels of IL-1 resulted in a significant enhancement of IL-8 secretion compared to cells cultured with IL-1 alone. A similar effect was seen with HGF and IL-1 simulation of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 secretion by the rat IEC-6 intestinal epithelial cell line. The enhancing effect of HGF was seen regardless of whether the culture medium contained serum or not. Simultaneous stimulation with HGF and IL-1 was required for the enhancing effect as cells pretreated with HGF for 24 h and then stimulated with IL-1 alone secreted IL-8 levels similar to that of cells stimulated with IL-1 alone. These results suggest that in addition to wound healing, HGF may play a role in the IL-1-induced chemokine response of epithelial cells in inflamed mucosal tissues.