The effects of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), IGF-II and des(1–3)IGF-I, a potent IGF-I analogue, on the secretion of GH and IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) from cultured rat anterior pituitary cells were measured. IGF-I and des(1–3)IGF-I stimulated GH secretion at low concentrations (maximally effective at 1 and 0·1 μg/l respectively) and inhibited GH secretion at higher concentrations. The half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) were approximately 20 μg/l and 1 μg/l for IGF-I and des(1–3)IGF-I respectively. Thus des(1–3)IGF-I was more potent than IGF-I in these effects on GH secretion. We postulate that the increased potency of des(1–3)IGF-I in affecting GH secretion is due to decreased binding of this peptide by pituitary IGFBP compared with IGF-I. In contrast with IGF-I and des(1–3)IGF-I, IGF-II did not stimulate GH secretion at low concentrations, but did inhibit GH secretion from pituitary cells with an IC50 of approximately 20 μg/l.
Several IGFBPs ranging in molecular mass from 22 000 to 52 000 were detected in medium conditioned by cultured anterior pituitary cells. When measured by Western-ligand blotting and competitive ligand-binding techniques, these IGFBPs exhibited decreased binding of des(1–3)IGF-I compared with IGF-I and IGF-II. The production of IGFBP by anterior pituitary cells was stimulated by the addition of IGFs to the culture medium.