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  • Author: FR Dunshea x
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V Dunaiski, FR Dunshea, PE Walton and C Goddard

Growth hormone (GH) improves growth performance in the pig. Analogues of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) that bind poorly to IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) stimulate growth in the rat but, in contrast, inhibit growth in the pig. This study was designed to determine the effect of IGF peptides alone or in combination with porcine GH (pGH) on growth characteristics and plasma hormone concentrations in finisher pigs. A four-day infusion of Long [R3] IGF-I (LR3IGF-I; 180 micrograms/kg/day) decreased the average daily gain, food intake, and plasma IGFBP-3, IGF-I and insulin concentrations. The mean plasma GH concentration was decreased by 23% and the area under the GH peaks was reduced by 60%. Co-administration of pGH (30 micrograms/kg/day) with LR3IGF-I had no interactive effect on growth performance, and plasma insulin, IGFBP-3 and IGF-I concentrations remained suppressed. The area under the GH peaks was not restored with this combination treatment although mean plasma GH concentrations were elevated in all animals receiving pGH. Infusion of IGF-I (180 micrograms/kg/day) decreased plasma insulin and mean GH concentrations but had no significant effect on IGFBP-3 concentrations. Average daily gain and feed intake were not changed by IGF-I treatment. A combination of IGF-I and pGH injection (30 micrograms/kg/day) increased plasma IGFBP-3 concentrations but plasma insulin levels remained suppressed. Plasma glucose levels were unaffected by any treatment. The study demonstrates that both IGF-I and LR3IGF-I suppress plasma GH concentrations in finisher pigs. This, in turn, may be responsible for the reduction in the plasma concentration of IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and insulin seen in LR3IGF-I-treated animals. The decrease in these parameters may contribute to the inhibitory effect of LR3IGF-I on growth performance in the pig.

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BA Henry, JW Goding, AJ Tilbrook, FR Dunshea and IJ Clarke

Leptin can act as a satiety factor and exert neuroendocrine effects, but most studies have been performed in fasted animals. We aimed to determine the effect of chronic under-nutrition on the response to a 3-day intracerebroventricular infusion of leptin with regard to food intake and the secretion of pituitary hormones. Ovariectomised ewes (n=6) had a mean (+/-s.e.m. ) bodyweight of 56+/-0.8 kg on a diet available ad libitum (ad lib) or 33.4+/-1 kg on a restricted diet. The differential bodyweight was achieved by dietary means over a period of 6 months prior to the commencement of the study. Leptin (4 microg/h) or vehicle (artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF)) was infused into the third cerebral ventricle for 3 days. Blood samples were taken prior to commencement and on day 3 of infusion for the assay of plasma hormone levels. The experiment was repeated one week later in a cross-over design. Food intake and metabolic status were monitored daily. The luteinising hormone (LH) pulse amplitude was lower (P<0.05) but plasma growth hormone (GH) levels were higher (P<0.05) in the food-restricted animals. Plasma levels of glucose, lactate, insulin, urea and triglycerides were similar in the two groups but non-esterified fatty acid levels were higher (P<0.01) in the animals on an ad lib diet. Leptin reduced (P<0.05) food intake only in the animals fed an ad lib diet. Leptin increased (P<0.05) the secretion of LH in the food-restricted group only and increased (P<0.05) GH irrespective of bodyweight. In conclusion, leptin does not alter food intake in animals on a restricted diet but can increase the secretion of LH in the same animals. The treatment of leptin was not sufficient to reduce plasma GH levels in the food-restricted animals, suggesting that other factors or mechanisms must be involved in the regulation of this axis.

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FM Tomas, PE Walton, FR Dunshea and FJ Ballard

The relative acute hypoglycaemic potencies of IGF-I and several variants of IGF-I which bind poorly to the IGF-I binding proteins (IGFBPs) have been examined in marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) and the pig. In the marmoset study, IGF-I and des(1-3)IGF-I were compared in anaesthetised and conscious animals in a range of bolus doses from 42 to 270 micrograms/kg body weight. In the pig study, IGF-I was compared with four variants, des(1-3)IGF-I long-IGF-I, R3IGF-I and long-R3IGF-I (LR3IGF-I), which show reduced affinity for the IGFBPs as well as with insulin. Doses in the pig were 20 and 50 micrograms/kg body weight for the IGFs and 3 micrograms/kg for insulin. In each study serial blood samples were taken from 30 min before to 4 h after the bolus injection. Plasma glucose levels were decreased in a dose-responsive manner with the pig more sensitive than either the conscious or anaesthetised marmoset (maximum lowering 4.8, 3.7 and 2.5 mmol/l respectively). The IGF variants were consistently 2- to 3-fold more potent than IGF-I in each animal for lowering of plasma glucose to the nadir, with the potency reflecting the relative affinities for binding to the IGFBPs and the IGF-I receptors. Thus, hypoglycaemic potency was in the order IGF-I < long-IGF-I < R3IGF-I approximately LR3IGF-I < des (1-3)IGF-I. Notably the variants suppressed plasma glucose levels over a much longer period than did IGF-I, the cumulative suppression over four hours showing an approximately 4- to 8-fold increase in the extent of hypoglycaemia. The prolonged suppression was not simply proportional to the hypoglycaemic nadir; at doses equipotent for glucose lowering, the cumulative hypoglycaemic effect for the variants in either species was about 2-fold that for IGF-I. The differential effect of the variants in the marmoset could not be accounted for by correlated changes in plasma insulin, IGF-I or IGFBP levels in plasma. Indirect effects via inhibition of glucagon, or direct effects via hepatic insulin receptors are postulated to account for the results. There was a dose-related reduction in plasma amino acids in the pig but, unlike the case for plasma glucose, only one analogue, LR3IGF-I was more potent than IGF-I. The response to LR3IGF-I was accentuated at the high dosage but on the basis of the other variants tested this effect could not be ascribed to either of the incorporated molecular variations. Despite their more rapid clearance from the circulation, variants of IGF-I which show lower affinity for binding to IGFBPs show proportionately superior potency for sustained hypoglycaemic action. Since our data were obtained in animal models of accepted relevance to humans these results point to the possible superior efficacy of the variants, especially des(1-3)IGF-I, over IGF-I for use as an adjunct to insulin treatment of hyperglycaemic conditions.