Ovarian insulin-like growth factor binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4) proteolysis is involved in the regulation of follicular development, but until now the identity of the responsible enzyme was unknown. In this study, we identify the IGFBP-4 protease in human follicular fluid as pregnancy associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) based on distinctive IGFBP-4 cleavage pattern, the same protease inhibitor profile, specific inhibition and immunodepletion of IGFBP-4 protease activity with PAPP-A polyclonal antibodies, and immunorecognition by PAPP-A monoclonal antibodies in ELISA. Furthermore, PAPP-A levels in estrogen-dominant and androgen-dominant follicular fluids reflect their IGFBP-4 proteolytic activity. PAPP-A was also secreted by human granulosa cells, the reputed source of IGFBP-4 protease activity in follicular fluid. We have the molecular and biochemical tools to begin to delineate the regulation and biological function of PAPP-A in normal and dysregulated follicular development and atresia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical