Insulin-like growth factors mediate many of the effects of growth hormone and are important in the regulation of growth, especially in the fetus where growth is less dependent on circulating growth hormone. In the ovine fetus, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is bound mainly to the low molecular weight insulin-like growth factor-binding proteins (IGFBP), IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2, with little binding to IGFBP-3 until near term at 147 days gestation.To determine if there was any difference in plasma IGF-I and IGFBP-3 concentrations in growth-retarded fetal sheep with altered renal status, concentrations were measured by specific radioimmunoassay from bilaterally nephrectomized fetal sheep between Days 113 and 135 gestation.Plasma IGFBP-3 concentrations were significantly (P < 0 001) increased in bilaterally nephrectomized fetuses (fourmula presented) compared with control fetuses (fourmula presented).There was no change in plasma IGFBP-3 concentration with gestational age in either experimental group. Maternal plasma IGFBP-3 concentrations did not differ between the bilateral nephrectomy group (3 11±0-09 p, g mL-1, n = 7) and the control group (3-25±0-ll Pg mL-1, n = 7) and showed no change within groups over the experimental period. Total plasma IGF-I concentrations in bilaterally nephrectomized fetuses and ewes were similar to those in control fetuses and ewes.The results indicate that the profile of IGF binding in fetal plasma is altered in the anephric fetal sheep. In nephrectomized fetal sheep, increased IGFBP-3 concentrations, and therefore increased IGF-binding capacity in fetal plasma, may have contributed to a decrease in free IGF in plasma and decreased IGF-I bioactivity. This would provide a possible mechanism for the growth retardation reported in bilaterally nephrectomized fetal sheep.
- Insulin-like growth factor-I