Administration of GH complexed with monoclonal antibodies (MABs) potentiates the in vivo actions of the hormone. In particular, growth and serum IGF-I concentrations of GH-treated hypophysectomized rats are increased by concomittant injection of anti-GH MABs. Among 37 anti-bovine GH (bGH) MABs, we selected one MAB with the most potentiating effects to investigate the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. Hypophysectomized rats were killed 18 h after a single s.c. injection of bGH (100 μg/rat), alone or complexed with increasing doses of MAB (4, 40, 400 μg/rat; MAB:bGH molar ratio: 0·005, 0·05, 0·5). IGF-I was measured by radioimmunoassay in acid–extracted sera and livers, whereas liver IGF-I mRNA was quantified by Northern blot hybridization. The in vivo occupancy of liver somatogenic (GH) receptors was derived from the determinations of total and free 125I-labelled bGH binding to liver homogenates treated with 4 mol MgCl2/l or water. Injection of MAB–bGH complexes enhanced body weight gain and raised serum IGF-I, liver IGF-I and liver IGF-I mRNA more than bGH alone (1·6-, 6-, 10- and 7-fold increases at the highest dose of MAB, compared with bGH alone; P < 0·001). These potentiating effects of the MAB were dose-dependent and significant potentiation of the growth response was already observed with the lowest dose of MAB. In vivo occupancy of liver GH receptors was markedly higher 18 h after injection of MAB–bGH complexes than after bGH alone, and this effect was also dose-dependent (receptor occupancy of 28%, 37% and 83% after 4, 40 and 400 μg of MAB respectively compared with 6% after bGH alone; P < 0·05, 0·05 and 0·001 respectively). In contrast, the in vitro binding of 125I-labelled bGH to liver homogenates was decreased in the presence of high doses of MAB.
We conclude that low amounts of MABs complexed with bGH potentiate the stimulation by the hormone of liver IGF-I synthesis and secretion in a dose–dependent manner. These effects are mediated, at least in part, through changes in hormone-receptor interaction in vivo, leading to enhanced and/or prolonged binding of bGH to its somatogenic receptors.
Journal of Endocrinology (1993) 139, 383–393