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M Shimizu, A Hara, and WW Dickhoff

Salmon plasma contains at least three IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) with molecular masses of 41, 28 and 22 kDa. The 41 kDa IGFBP is similar to mammalian IGFBP-3 in size, type of glycosylation and physiological responses. In this study, we developed an RIA for the 41 kDa IGFBP. The 41 kDa IGFBP purified from serum was used for antibody production and as an assay standard. Binding of three different preparations of tracer were examined: (125)I-41 kDa IGFBP, (125)I-41 kDa IGFBP cross-linked with IGF-I and 41 kDa IGFBP cross-linked with (125)I-IGF-I (41 kDa IGFBP/(125)I-IGF-I). Only binding of 41 kDa IGFBP/(125)I-IGF-I was not affected by added IGFs, and therefore it was chosen for the tracer in the RIA. Plasma 41 kDa IGFBP levels measured by RIA were increased by GH treatment (178.9+/-4.9 ng/ml) and decreased after fasting (95.0+/-7.0 ng/ml). The molarities of plasma 41 kDa IGFBP and total IGF-I were comparable, and they were positively correlated, suggesting that salmon 41 kDa IGFBP is a main carrier of circulating IGF-I in salmon, as is mammalian IGFBP-3 in mammals. During the parr-smolt transformation (smoltification) of coho salmon, plasma 41 kDa IGFBP levels showed a transient peak (182.5+/-10.3 ng/ml) in March and stayed relatively constant thereafter, whereas IGF-I showed peak levels in March and April. Differences in the molar ratio between 41 kDa IGFBP and IGF-I possibly influence availability of IGF-I in the circulation during smoltification.