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Endocrinology. 2007 Jan;148(1):441-51. Epub 2006 Sep 28.

Postnatally elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-II fail to rescue the dwarfism of IGF-I-deficient mice except kidney weight.

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Institute of Molecular Animal Breeding and Biotechnology, Gene Center, University of Munich, D-81377 Munich, Germany.


This study tested whether elevated levels of IGF-II in the postnatal period can rescue the dwarfism in IGF-I-deficient mice. Heterozygous Igf1 mutant mice [I(+/-) II(wt)] were crossed with heterozygous Igf1 mutant, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase promoter IGF-II transgenic mice [I(+/-) II(tg)], and [I(+/+) II(wt)], [I(+/+) II(tg)], [I(-/-) II(wt)], and [I(-/-) II(tg)] offspring were investigated. IGF-II levels were 11- and 6-fold higher in male and female [I(-/-) II(tg)] vs. [I(-/-) II(wt)] animals. Western ligand blot analysis revealed markedly reduced activities of 30- and 32-kDa IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) (most likely IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2) and the 39- to 43-kDa IGFBP-3 double band in serum from IGF-I-deficient mice. These binding proteins were partially restored by overexpression of IGF-II. Analysis of weight data from the early postnatal period until d 60 showed that, in the absence of IGF-I, elevated levels of IGF-II have no effect on body weight gain. A detailed analysis of body proportions, bone parameters, and organ weights of 60-d-old mice also failed to show effects of IGF-II with one important exception: in Igf1 mutant and also Igf1 intact male mice, IGF-II overexpression significantly increased absolute (+32.4 and +28.6%; P < 0.01) and relative kidney weights (+29.0 and +22.4%; P < 0.001). These changes in kidney weight were associated with reduced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK. In summary, our genetic model shows that substantial amounts of IGF-II in the circulation do not rescue the postnatal growth deficit of IGF-I-deficient mice but increase absolute and relative kidney weights of normal and IGF-I-deficient male mice, suggesting a gender-specific role of IGF-II for kidney growth.

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