Although mRNAs encoding insulinlike growth factor (IGF) binding proteins (BPs) are present in adult rat liver and IGF BP-1 circulates at elevated levels in diabetic animals, there is little knowledge of the metabolic regulation of IGF BPs in normal tissues. We examined the release of IGF BPs by adult rat hepatocytes maintained in primary culture. When cultured for 2 days in the absence of added insulin, hepatocytes released a BP identified as BP-1 on the basis of ∼30,000-Mr on ligand blotting and reactivity with antiserum to human BP-1 in immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation studies. Release of BP-1 was sensitive to insulin with suppression of 24 ± 4, 73 ± 5, and 64 ± 14% at 10−10, 10−8, and 10−6 M insulin, respectively; ED50 was ∼1.7 × 10−9 M, which is within the physiological range. Suppression by insulin was reversible and began within 3 h. Because normal hepatocytes in primary culture exhibit insulin-responsive release of both BP-1 and IGF-1, this system may be an ideal model for studies of molecular mechanisms of metabolic regulation.

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