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Kidney Int. 1999 Dec;56(6):2076-84.

Serum-free insulin-like growth factor I correlates with clearance in patients with chronic renal failure.

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Medical Research Laboratory, Institute of Experimental Clinical Research, Aarhus UniversityHospital, and Research Laboratory of Nephrology and Hypertension, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus N, Denmark.


Serum-free insulin-like growth factor I correlates with clearance in patients with chronic renal failure.


Chronic renal failure (CRF) results in major changes in the circulating growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system. However, there are only limited data on changes in free IGF-I in CRF.


Matched groups of nondiabetic, nondialyzed patients with CRF (N = 25) and healthy controls (N = 13) were compared. The creatinine clearance (CCr) based on a 24-hour urine collection ranged from 3 to 59 and 89 to 148 ml/min/1.73 m2 in patients and controls, respectively. Overnight fasting serum samples were analyzed for free and total IGF-I and -II, and IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1, -2, and -3. Additionally, intact as well as proteolyzed IGFBP-3 was determined.


The patients had reduced serum-free IGF-I (-53%) and increased levels of total IGF-II (40%), IGFBP-1 (546%), and IGFBP-2 (270%, P < 0.05). Serum total IGF-I and free IGF-II were normal. Also, serum levels of immunoreactive IGFBP-3 were elevated (33%, P < 0.05), but this could be explained by an increased abundance of IGFBP-3 fragments, as ligand blotting showed no difference in levels of intact IGFBP-3. Accordingly, patients had an increased proteolysis of IGFBP-3 in vivo (17%) and in vitro (7%, P < 0.05). In patients, free IGF-I levels correlated positively with CCr (r2 = 0.38, P < 0.002) and inversely with IGFBP-1 (r2 = 0.69, P < 0. 0001) and IGFBP-2 (r2 = 0.41, P < 0.0007), whereas CCr was inversely correlated with levels of IGFBP-1 (r2 = 0.48, P < 0.0001) and IGFBP-2 (r2 = 0.63, P < 0.0001).


These data strongly support the hypothesis that CRF-related growth failure and tissue catabolism are caused by an increased concentration of circulating IGFBP-1 and -2, resulting in low serum levels of free IGF-I and thus IGF-I bioactivity. In addition, low levels of free IGF-I may explain the increased secretion of GH in CRF.

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