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J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2000 Jan;5(1):65-73.

Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins: IGF-dependent and -independent effects in the mammary gland.

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Hannah Research Institute, Ayr, United Kingdom.


The insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) are a family of proteins which bind to the IGFs with high affinity. Their expression within the mammary gland is species specific; it has thus been difficult to determine the biological roles of these binding proteins during lactation. In this article we propose a role for IGFBP-5 in the mammary gland involving the initiation of apoptosis induced by sequestration of IGF-1, an important survival factor for the mammary gland. We have shown that this binding protein retains its high affinity for IGF-1 and that it is present in extremely high concentrations compared with the growth factor. These observations make it likely that IGFBP-5 is capable of preventing interaction of IGF-1 with its receptor on the epithelial cells synthesizing milk. We have also demonstrated that IGFBP-5 interacts with alpha(s2)-casein and that this interaction implicates it in the regulation of plasminogen activation in the mammary gland. The generation of plasmin is a key initiating event in the remodeling of the extracellular matrix during mammary involution. As such, IGFBP-5 may play a key role in coordinating cell death and tissue remodeling processes. Many of the molecules involved in embryological development are also expressed in the developing and involuting mammary gland. We believe that our studies may offer mechanistic explanations for apoptotic events in a wide variety of tissues. We have recently shown that IGFBP-5 is apoptotic in the chick embryonic limb bud, adding further support to our belief that IGFBP-5 serves this function in the mammary gland. We hope to be able to explore the role of this binding protein in the mammary gland with a transgenic mouse model expressing IGFBP-5 on the beta-lactoglobulin promoter.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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