Identification and characterization of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein expression and secretion by adult human adrenocortical cells: differential regulation by IGFs and adrenocorticotropin

in Journal of Endocrinology

In previous studies we have shown that IGF-II stimulates basal as well as ACTH-induced cortisol secretion from adult human adrenocortical cells more potently than IGF-I, and that both IGFs predominantly stimulate androgen biosynthesis. The steroidogenic effect of IGF-I and IGF-II is mediated through interaction with the IGF-I receptor, and modified by locally produced IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs). In the present study, we identified and characterized IGFBP synthesis in normal adult human adrenocortical cells in primary culture, and investigated the effect of ACTH and recombinant human IGF-I and -II on the regulation of IGFBP expression and secretion. Using RT-PCR, we identified the mRNA of all six high-affinity IGFBPs, in both adrenocortical tissue and monolayer cell cultures of adrenocortical cells. Using Western ligand and immunoblotting and two-dimensional Western ligand blotting we confirmed the secretion of IGFBP-1, -2, -3, -4 and -5 by adrenocortical cells in primary culture. The quantification of IGFBPs indicated that IGFBP-3 accounts for almost half the binding activity in conditioned medium of unstimulated cells (47%), followed by IGFBP-4 (20%), IGFBP-5 (15%), IGFBP-2 (12%) and IGFBP-1 (6%). After treatment with ACTH, the abundance of IGFBP-1 was upregulated significantly 2.6-fold, while IGFBP-3 was induced only slightly (1.3-fold). IGFBP-2, -4 and -5 remained unchanged. In contrast, IGF-I and -II (6.5 nM) predominantly induced the abundance of IGFBP-5 (2- and 1.6-fold respectively) and IGFBP-3 (2- and 1.7-fold respectively), while IGFBP-1, -2 and -4 were unaltered. The induction of IGFBP-1 and -5 by ACTH and IGFs, respectively, was paralleled by an increase in the amount of IGFBP-1 and -5 mRNA in these cells. In conclusion, all six high-affinity IGFBPs are expressed in the adult human adrenal gland, and the presence of at least five high-affinity IGFBPs has been demonstrated in conditioned medium of adult human adrenocortical cells. Furthermore, the expression and secretion of IGFBP-1 is upregulated by ACTH, whereas IGFBP-5 is induced by IGF-I and -II. Together with earlier findings, these results suggest that IGFBPs play an important modulatory role in the regulation of the differentiated adrenocortical function.

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