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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1996 Sep;45(3):327-31.

Ethnicity affects IGFBP-3 and IGF-II in normal healthy young adult subjects.

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Division of Medicine, St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK.



While the effects of age on the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis are well documented, the influence of ethnic background is unknown. The differences in IGF and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) were investigated in two ethnic groups.


A cross-sectional study of an age-selected cohort of healthy, normoglycaemic, non-obese Caucasian (C) and Asian (A) subjects.


Fifty-three (27 C, 26 A) subjects with a mean age (+/- SD) of 20.6 +/- 0.8 years were studied.


Fasting measurements of glucose, insulin, IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3. Western ligand blotting and immunoblotting with IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 of serum samples.


There were no significant differences in IGF-I levels between Caucasian and Asian subjects (C 218 +/- 55 vs A 229 +/- 40 micrograms/l; P = 0.44). IGF-II (C 707 +/- 110 vs A 583 +/- 75 micrograms/l; P < 0.0001) and IGFBP-3 (C 5.9 +/- 1.2 vs A 5.12 +/- 1.17 mg/l; P = 0.01) levels were significantly higher in Caucasian subjects. Immunoblotting of ligand blots revealed no protease activity on either IGFBP-3 or IGFBP-2 to account for these ethnic differences.


Ethnic differences in IGFBP-3 and associated IGF-II levels may affect the inter-relationships of IGFs and their binding proteins and need to be considered when interpreting IGF data on growth and metabolism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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