IGF-I stimulation of luteinizing hormone secretion, IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and expression of mRNAs for IGFs, IGF receptors and IGFBPs in the ovine pituitary gland

Clare Lesley Adam, T S Gadd, P.A. Findlay, D C Wathes

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52 Citations (Scopus)


Circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) are reduced in juvenile sheep during nutritional growth restriction and the associated delay in puberty. Since exogenous IGF-I has been shown to stimulate luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion, it is postulated that endogenous IGF-I may act as a stimulatory metabolic signal to the pubertal ovine hypothalamo-pituitary axis, yet its site of action is unknown. Using coronal hypothalamic and pituitary sections from pubertal ewe lambs, in vitro autoradiography was used to localise I-125-labelled IGF-I binding, and gene expression for components of the IGF system was localised by in situ hybridisation using oligonucleotide probes. High concentrations of I-125-IGF-I binding were seen in the pars tuberalis (PT) and pars distalis (PD) of the pituitary, and relatively little in the hypothalamus; binding in the PT but not the PD was displaced by excess unlabelled IGF-I. Large amounts of mRNA were detected For the type-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and for IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-5, localised to the PT and PD, and less intense specific hybridisation signals were obtained with mRNAs for IGF-II, type-2 receptor (IGF-2R) and IGFBP-3. There was some evidence for specific hybridisation to IGFBP-4 mRNA in the PT. IGF-I, IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 mRNAs were not detected in PT and PD. None of the genes were expressed in hypothalamic tissue. Western-ligand binding on PD extracts from male castrates revealed by their molecular weights the likely presence of IGFBPs-2, -3, and -5. Finally, cultured PD cells from abattoir-killed sheep were challenged with IGF-I (0.1, 1, 10 or 30 nM) or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH, 10 nM) alone, or both together. Basal LH output was stimulated by 10 nM IGF-I (120 +/- 11.2%, P>0.05), 30 nM IGF-I (148 +/- 12.8%, P<0.01), and LHRH alone (200 +/- 16.1%, P<0.001); there was no additive or subtractive effect of LHRH and IGF-I given together. Thus, an intrapituitary ICF system exists in sheep and the present results are consistent with an endocrine role for IGF-I in nutritional modulation of LH secretion at the level of the pituitary gland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2000


  • growth-factor-I
  • gonadotropin-releasing-hormone
  • anterior-pituitary
  • estrous-cycle
  • pars tuberalis
  • plasma-concentrations
  • placental development
  • early-pregnancy
  • factor system
  • soay sheep


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