Complex mediation of uterine endometrial epithelial cell growth by insulin-like growth factor-II (IGF-II) and IGF-binding protein-2


    The coexpression of IGF (-I and -II) peptides, corresponding receptors, and IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) in uterine endometrium suggests that a significant component of IGF action in this tissue is via autocrine or paracrine pathways, or both. The present study examined whether IGF-II and a major uterine-expressed IGF-II binding protein, IGFBP-2, modulate endometrial epithelial cell mitogenesis. Serum-deprived porcine endometrial glandular epithelial (GE) cells of early pregnancy were treated with various concentrations of IGFs, recombinant porcine (rp) IGFBP-2, or both, and examined for changes in cellular mitogenesis by incorporation of [(3)H]thymidine into DNA. Recombinant human (rh) IGF-II stimulated DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent manner. Human [Leu(27)]-IGF-II, an analog with selective affinity for the IGF-II (type II) receptor, increased thymidine uptake by twofold compared with untreated GE cells. When added in combination with an equimolar concentration of rhIGF-I, [Leu(27)]-IGF-II or rhIGF-II stimulated thymidine incorporation to a greater extent than did rhIGF-I alone. Ligand blot analysis of GE cell conditioned medium revealed the presence of four IGFBPs with molecular masses of 48, 31, 23, and 15 kDa. Physiological concentrations of rpIGFBP-2 (nM range) increased both basal and IGF-induced DNA synthesis in GE cells. At equimolar concentrations, Des(1-6)IGF-II (an IGF-II analog with much reduced affinity for IGFBPs) and rpIGFBP-2 had additive effects on GE cell mitogenesis, suggesting that the IGFBP-2 modulation of uterine cell growth may involve both IGF-dependent and IGF-independent pathways. Our results demonstrate the complex interplay of IGF system components in uterine endometrial epithelial growth regulation in vitro, identify IGF-II and IGFBP-2 as locally coexpressed uterine epithelial cell mitogens, and suggest the presence of a functional signaling pathway by which IGF-II stimulates epithelial cell proliferation via the type II receptor.

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