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Am J Physiol. 1990 Jul;259(1 Pt 1):E89-95.

Activation of insulin-like growth factor gene expression during work-induced skeletal muscle growth.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


We have investigated the hypothesis that there is local regulation of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) gene expression during skeletal muscle growth. Compensatory hypertrophy was induced in the soleus, a predominantly slow-twitch muscle, and plantaris, a fast-twitch muscle, in 11- to 12-wk-old female Wistar rats by unilateral cutting of the distal gastrocnemius tendon. Animals were killed 2, 4, or 8 days later, and muscles of the nonoperated leg served as controls. Muscle weight increased throughout the experimental period, reaching 127% (soleus) or 122% (plantaris) of control values by day 8. In both growing muscles, IGF-I mRNA, quantitated by a solution-hybridization nuclease-protection assay, rose by nearly threefold on day 2 and remained elevated throughout the experimental period. IGF-II mRNA levels also increased over controls. A more dramatic response was seen in hypophysectomized rats, where IGF-I mRNA levels rose by 8- to 13-fold, IGF-II values by 3- to 7-fold, and muscle mass increased on day 8 to 149% (soleus) or 133% (plantaris) of the control contralateral limb. These results indicate that signals propagated during muscle hypertrophy enhance the expression of both IGF genes, that modulation of IGF-I mRNA levels can occur in the absence of growth hormone, and that locally produced IGF-I and IGF-II may play a role in skeletal muscle growth.

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