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Endocrinology. 1990 Jan;126(1):644-52.

Tissue, developmental, and metabolic regulation of messenger ribonucleic acid encoding a rat insulin-like growth factor-binding protein.

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  • 1Growth and Development Section, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) is the predominant insulin-like growth factor in fetal and neonatal rat serum and tissues. In serum, it occurs complexed to a 30-kDa nonglycosylated IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) that is immunologically related to the IGFBP in BRL-3A rat liver cells (rIGFBP-2). Levels of rIGFBP-2 and IGF-II decrease in rat serum after birth. Using a recently isolated cDNA clone for rIGFBP-2 as hybridization probe, we now compare the expression of rIGFBP-2 and IGF-II in fetal tissues and the effects of hypophysectomy and fasting on the abundance of these mRNAs in adult rat liver. rIGFBP-2 mRNA is expressed at high levels in term gestation liver and at lower levels in other tissues. The ratio of rIGFBP-2 to IGF-II mRNAs in stomach, kidney, and lung is similar to that seen in liver, whereas IGF-II mRNA is more abundant than rIGFBP-2 mRNA in muscle, intestine, heart, and skin. Both mRNAs are more abundant in fetal tissues than in the corresponding tissues from adult rats. Dexamethasone treatment of 4-day-old rats for 4 days caused a greater (90%) decrease in hepatic IGF-II mRNA than in rIGFBP-2 mRNA (50%), suggesting subtle differences in the developmental regulation of the two mRNAs. Even more striking differences were observed in the regulation of the two mRNAs in adult rats after hypophysectomy or fasting. Hepatic rIGFBP-2 mRNA was increased 10- to 20-fold compared to age-matched control rats, whereas IGF-II mRNA was not increased. A parallel increase in serum rIGFBP-2 was observed, suggesting that this regulation may result at least in part from the increased abundance of rIGFBP-2 mRNA. Thus, in addition to modulating the stimulation of growth and differentiation by IGF-II in fetal tissues, rIGFBP-2 may play a homeostatic role during catabolic states in the adult rat.

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