Differential regulation of the insulin-like growth factors (IGF-I and -II) and IGF binding proteins during malnutrition in the neonatal rat

Sharon M. Donovan, Lorraine C. Atilano, Raymond L. Hintz, Darrell M. Wilson, Ron G. Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and -II are known to play a major role in fetal and early postnatal growth. The IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) are thought to be important in modulating the actions of the IGFs. In this paper, the effect of malnutrition in the neonatal rat on serum IGFs and IGFBPs and hepatic IGFBP messenger (m) RNA was examined. Control (C) dams (n = 9) were allowed ad libitum intake, whereas restricted (R) dams (n = 9) were limited to 50% of ad libitum intake throughout lactation, which results in decreased milk production and malnutrition of pups suckling on restricted dams. A subset of pups were cross-fostered from the R-dams to the C-dams from days 15-19 postpartum (PP) to investigate the effect of nutritional repletion (refed). Pups were killed on days 8, 12, 15, and 19 PP and liver and blood collected. Serum IGF-I and - II concentrations were measured by RIA after acid-chromatography to remove IGFBPs. Serum IGFBPs were characterized by Western ligand blot. Hepatic mRNA for IGFBP-1, -2, and -3 were determined by northern analysis. Body weight (BW) of R-pups was significantly less than C-pups by day 10 PP (P ≤ 0.05), and mean BW at day 19 was 56% of the C-pups. Refeeding from days 15-19 resulted in a significantly greater rate of growth us. R-pups (3.2 vs. 0.9 g/day), and mean BW of refed pups at day 19 PP was 75% of C-pups. Malnutrition caused a significant reduction in both serum IGF-I and -II after day 12 PP, while causing an elevation in serum IGFBP-2. IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 mRNA expression were not significantly affected at days 8 and 12, but were elevated in livers of day 15 and 19 pups. Malnutrition caused a delay in the developmental shift from IGFBP-2 to IGFBP-3, which normally occurs between day 15 and 19 in the rat. Refeeding raised serum IGF-I and -II levels to those found in the C-pups and a trend toward normalization of IGFBP profiles. In conclusion, IGFs and IGFBPs are differentially regulated during neonatal malnutrition. The decrease in IGF peptide and induction of IGFBP-1 and -2 may provide protective mechanisms by inhibiting growth during malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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