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Eur Cytokine Netw. 2004 Oct-Dec;15(4):359-63.

An accumulation of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in human myometrium and uterine leiomyomas in various stages of tumour growth.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Medical Academy of Białystok, Białystok, Poland.


It is commonly thought that uterine leiomyomas result from hyperstimulation of myometrium by ovarian hormones. Some observations suggest that cytokines and growth factors are intermediate elements through which the ovarian hormones may exert their growth-stimulatory effects on leiomyomas. Human myometrium and uterine leiomyomas of various weights were homogenised and extracted with 1 M acetic acid or with 0.05 M Tris/HCl, pH 7.6. The extracts were assayed for IGF-I using the ELISA technique. It was found that 0.05 M Tris/HCl extracts contained several times more IGF-I than the 1 M acetic acid extracts. Nanogram amounts of IGF-I were found in both control myometrium and in leiomyomas. It was found that the amounts of IGF-I extracted from leiomyomas were distinctly higher in comparison to control myometrium and they increased as a function of tumour growth. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, followed by Western immunoblotting, demonstrated that IGF-I in acidic and alkaline extracts exists as stable complexes, probably with extracellular matrix components. No free IGF-I was detected. Furthermore, it was found that some components of both the acidic and alkaline extracts were able to bind exogenous (125)I-labeled IGF-I. It is suggested that IGF-I plays an important role both in myometrium biology and in the growth of uterine leiomyomas.

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