A unique receptor-independent mechanism by which insulinlike growth factor i regulates the availability of insulinlike growth factor binding proteins in normal and transformed human fibroblasts

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Insulin-like growth factor I and II (IGF-I and IGF-II) associate with specific IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) present in plasma and extracellular fluids that can modulate the anabolic effects of these peptides. IGF-I has been shown to increase IGFBP concentrations in vivo and in vitro, but the mechanism and significance of this action are unknown. We examined these issues using normal and simian virus 40-transformed adult human fibroblasts (SV40-HF) in culture. Treatment with IGF-I markedly stimulated the appearance of IGFBP-3 (42/38 kD doublet), a 36 kD IGFBP, and 28-32 kD IGFBPs in the medium of these cells, as assessed by Western ligand blotting; IGF-I decreased levels of 24 kD IGFBP in normal HF cultures. The IGF-I-induced change in IGFBP levels was not a type I IGF receptor-mediated effect on IGFBP synthesis because (a) high concentrations of insulin did not mimic IGF-I's effect; (A) IGF-II and IGF-I analogues having reduced affinity for the IGF-I receptor were equipotent with IGF-I in increasing medium IGFBPs; (c) [QAYL]IGF-I, an IGF-I analogue having normal receptor affinity and decreased affinity for IGFBPs, had no effect; and (d) αIR-3, a monoclonal antibody specific for the type I IGF receptor, did not block IGF-I-stimulated increases in IGFBPs. In physiological studies, preincubation with 1 nM IGF-I had no effect on type I IGF receptor binding in normal HF and SV40-HF. In contrast, preincubation of cells with an equivalent concentration of [QAYL]IGF-I downregulated the receptors 40-50%. Changes in cell surface receptor number were reflected in cell responsiveness to IGF-I-stimulated [3H]-thymidine incorporation and [3H]aminoisoburyric acid uptake. In conclusion, IGF-I regulates the availability of specific IGFBPs in cultured human fibroblasts by a novel receptor-independent mechanism. Rapid changes in levels of soluble IGFBPs as a direct response to extracellular IGF-I, in turn, modulate IGF-I peptide and receptor interaction, and may constitute an important level of control in IGF cellular physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1361
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991



  • Downregulation
  • IGF-I
  • IGF-I analogues
  • IGFBP-3
  • Thymidine incorporation
  • Type I IGF receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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