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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1997 May 16;129(2):121-6.

Distribution of insulin/insulin-like growth factor-I hybrid receptors in human tissues.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rome-Tor Vergata, Italy.


Insulin receptors (IR) and type 1 IGF receptors (IGF-IR) have been shown to form insulin/IGF-I hybrid receptors in tissues expressing both molecules. The biological function of hybrid receptors is still undefined. To date there is no information about the distribution of hybrid receptors in human tissues. We have applied two microwell-based immunoassays which are capable of quantitating hybrid receptors in small samples of human tissues and cells. Results demonstrated that the proportion of total IGF-IR assembled as hybrids varied between 40 and 60%, thus indicating that hybrid receptors account for a large fraction of total IGF-I binding in human tissues. A significant fraction of total IR was assembled as hybrids in the tissues examined, varying from 37% in placenta to 45% in hepatoma, with the exception of adipose tissue where the fraction of insulin receptors forming hybrids was 17%. Because hybrid receptors bind IGF-I, but not insulin, with high affinity, it is likely that in human tissues hybrid receptors may be primarily activated by IGF-I rather than insulin under physiological conditions. Therefore, differences in hybrid receptors distribution may contribute to regulate tissue sensitivity to insulin and IGF-I by sequestering insulin receptor alphabeta-heterodimer in an IGF-I responsive form.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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