Effect of insulin-like growth factor-I during the early postnatal period in intrauterine growth-restricted rats

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Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is essential for perinatal growth and development; low serum IGF-I has been observed during intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). We investigated the effects of recombinant human (rh) IGF-I in IUGR rats during the early postnatal period.


Intrauterine growth restriction was induced by bilateral uterine artery ligation in pregnant rats. IUGR pups were divided into two groups injected daily with rhIGF-I (2 mg/kg; IUGR/IGF-I, n = 16) or saline (IUGR/physiologic saline solution (PSS), n = 16) from postnatal day (PND) 7 to 13. Maternal sham-operated pups injected with saline were used as controls (control, n = 16). Serum IGF-I and IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) 3 and 5 were measured on PND25. The expression of Igf-i, IGF-I receptor (Igf-ir), Igfbp3, and 5 mRNA in the liver and brain was measured using real-time polymerase chain reaction on PND25. Immunohistochemical staining of the liver for IGF expression was performed.


Mean bodyweight on PND3 and PND25 in the IUGR pups (IUGR/IGF-I and IUGR/PSS) was significantly lower than that of the control pups. Serum IGF-I and hepatic Igf-ir mRNA in the IUGR pups were significantly lower than those in the control pups. In the IUGR/IGF-I group, hepatic Igfbp3 mRNA and liver immunohistochemical staining were increased. In the IUGR/PSS and control pups, there were no significant differences between these two groups in serum IGFBP3 and IGFBP5, hepatic Igf-i and Igfbp-5 mRNA, or brain Igf mRNA.


No benefits on body and brain weight gain but an effective increase in hepatic IGFBP-3 was observed after treatment with 2 mg/kg rhIGF-I during the early postnatal period.

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