This study investigated the effect of IDDM on cartilage anabolic activity in rats. Rats were injected with STZ to induce IDDM, were hypophysectomized, or were injected with STZ and hypophysectomized. After 14 days, control (intact and sham-Hx) and Hx rats were normoglycemic, whereas the rats with IDDM exhibited hyperglycemia and glycosuria. The HxDb rats, however, had normal blood glucose levels and no glycosuria. Both growth, serum levels of IGF-I, and basal cartilage 35SO4 incorporation measured in vitro were decreased in the Hx, IDDM, and HxDb groups. IGF-I added in vitro significantly stimulated 35SO4 incorporation by cartilage explants from control and Hx animals, whereas explants from the animals with IDDM were unresponsive. Explants from the HxDb rats, however, were stimulated by IGF-I in a dose-related manner. Because Hx corrected the glycemic status of the IDDM rats and restored cartilage responsiveness to IGF-I, a second set of experiments was undertaken to further investigate the relationship between cellular metabolism and anabolic activity in cartilage. Cartilage explants from rats fasted for 48 h showed significantly decreased basal 35SO4 incorporation, which was as low as that in explants from rats with severe IDDM. Whereas explants from the IDDM rats were completely unresponsive, those from the fasted rats (and fed rats) were significantly stimulated by the added IGF-I. However, incubation in the presence of 2-D-G, which causes intracellular glucopenia, or in the absence of glucose, completely blocked the anabolic response to IGF-I in otherwise responsive tissues. In conclusion, an important component of diabetic growth inhibition appears to be tissue resistance to the anabolic action of IGF-I, a condition that is correctable by Hx and that may be a result of metabolic impairment at the tissue level.

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