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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Circulating insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and tissue mRNA levels of IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4 in the ovine fetus.

The IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) are a family of at least six structurally related proteins, which bind the IGFs and modulate their actions, including the regulation of pre- and postnatal growth. In this study we have examined the relationship between circulating and tissue mRNA levels of IGFBPs and related this to circulating IGFs in the fetal sheep over the gestational period when rapid growth and development occurs. Circulating IGFBP-2, as measured by Western ligand blot (WLB), increases between early and mid gestation, remains high, then declines throughout late gestation (P = 0.0002). Circulating IGFBP-3 increases throughout gestation, as measured by WLB or RIA (P = 0.04 and P = 0.0001 respectively), as does circulating IGFBP-4 (P = 0.004). These ontogenic changes in circulating IGFBPs-2 and -4 are paralleled by changes in liver mRNA for these proteins and, for IGFBP-2, by those in kidney IGFBP-2 mRNA also. This suggests that liver and kidney may be the primary contributors to circulating IGFBP-2 and the liver to circulating IGFBP-4, IGFBP-2 mRNA is present in the heart and lung in early gestation but barely detectable in these tissues after approximately 60 days gestation. IGFBP-4 mRNA is also present in the heart in early but not late gestation, but is abundant in the lung throughout gestation. These results demonstrate tissue specific and developmental regulation of IGFBPs-2 and -4 at the mRNA level. To assess any role the circulating IGFs may play in mediating these changes in IGFBPs, or vice versa, both plasma IGF-I and IGF-II were measured by RIA. Circulating IGF-I increases as gestation progresses (P = 0.0001), while circulating IGF-II increases between early and mid gestation, remains high (P = 0.01), then declines. Circulating IGF-I is positively correlated with fetal weight (r = 0.66, P = 0.03), circulating IGFBP-3 (r = 0.54, P = 0.01) and IGFBP-4 (r = 0.52, P = 0.01). Circulating IGF-II positively correlates with circulating IGFBP-2 (r = 0.48, P = 0.02) throughout gestation and at 1 day postnatally. These relationships are consistent with circulating IGF-I influencing IGFBPs-3 and -4, and similarly, IGF-II determining IGFBP-2, or vice versa. Alternatively, these correlations may reflect coordinate regulation of IGF and IGFBP by a common factor.[1]


  1. Circulating insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and tissue mRNA levels of IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-4 in the ovine fetus. Carr, J.M., Owens, J.A., Grant, P.A., Walton, P.E., Owens, P.C., Wallace, J.C. J. Endocrinol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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