Abstract In order to closely examine stimulation-secretion coupling, the authors developed a ‘flow culture system’ in which it is possible to continuously replace the culture medium. This lessens the effects of cell-derived products observed in the conventional culture system. We compared our flow culture system and the conventional culture system based on the secretion patterns and concentrations of human hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) produced by interleukin 1α (IL-1α)-stimulated human embryonic lung fibroblasts (MRC-5). While the cells in the conventional culture system secreted HGF at a nearly constant rate, the cells in the flow culture system secreted HGF periodically. Even short-term stimulation with IL-1α for 4 h resulted in significant HGF secretion continuing for at least 46 h. Thus the inflammatory cytokine IL-1α was shown to modulate fibroblast secretion of HGF. The periodic secretion of HGF may play an important role in tissue repair and regeneration. Based on the results of actually applying it, we conclude that our flow culture system is an efficient and accurate model for the detailed examination of stimulation-secretion coupling.