Insulin-like growth factors-I and -II (IGF-I and IGF-II) stimulate proliferation, differentiation, nutrient uptake and protein accretion in muscle cells. These effects are thought to be mediated through the type-I IGF receptor although a role for the type-II IGF receptor cannot be ruled out, since it has been found in most cells studied so far. Current evidence suggests that the chicken does not have a type-II IGF receptor and therefore provides a good model to study the function of IGF peptides. We have compared the effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factors on DNA synthesis with the binding of these peptides to receptors in primary chicken muscle satellite cells.
Human IGF-I (hIGF-I), hIGF-II and porcine insulin increased thymidine incorporation into DNA by threefold in muscle satellite cells prepared from neonatal chickens. IGF-I and -II were almost equipotent, with half-maximum effective concentrations of 10 μg/l, and were 1000-fold more potent than insulin. A combination of maximum effective concentrations of all three peptides was not additive, suggesting that their effect was mediated by the same receptor.
Receptor binding studies on satellite cells demonstrated the presence of specific IGF receptors. Human IGF-I inhibited the binding of 125I-labelled hIGF-I with a much higher potency than insulin, as usually observed for a type-I IGF receptor. However, unlabelled hIGF-II exhibited a higher potency than hIGF-I in displacing 125I-labelled hIGF-I. Affinity cross-linking of 125I-labelled hIGF-I and -II, followed by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, showed that hIGF-I and -II bound to a receptor with the structural characteristics of a type-I IGF receptor and confirmed the lack of a type-II IGF receptor in these cells. The concentrations of IGF-I, -II and insulin required for biological action and to displace 125I-labelled hIGF-I binding were similar, and support the hypothesis that their effects on proliferation were mediated exclusively through a type-I IGF receptor.