Previous studies support a role for insulin-like growth factor–binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) in modulating insulin-like growth factor (IGF) availability for glucose homeostasis. We have developed a radioimmunoassay (RIA) for rat IGFBP-1 (rIGFBP-1) and have examined the regulation of circulating levels by nutritional and hormonal status. Rabbit antisera were raised against pure rIGFBP-1, and an assay was established with a sensitivity of 50 pg. In the rat, serum IGFBP-1 concentrations decrease with increasing developmental age. They were highest in fetal rat serum, exceeding 4 mg/L, and decreased to <0.1 mg/L in adult animals. Serum rIGFBP-1 levels increased during fasting, 6-fold after 24 h and 18-fold after 48 h, and were suppressed to levels identical to ad libitum–fed control rats within 2 h of refeeding. Fasting levels were >2-fold higher in female than male animals. IGFBP-1 concentrations were suppressed by >50% in two rat models of insulin resistance. Levels increased in STZ-induced (streptozotocin) diabetes and were suppressed to normal with insulin treatment. Exercise stimulated rIGFBP-1 concentrations in fasting animals. On immunoblotting after SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis), rIGFBP-1 in serum appeared as a doublet with molecular masses at 31 and 33 kD. The components of this doublet did not vary across the range of experimental conditions. These observations indicate that the pattern of regulation of rIGFBP-1 is similar to that seen in previous studies of human IGFBP-1, with age, sex, and nutritional status being important regulators. The availability of appropriate rat models and a sensitive ria will allow additional study of the regulatory mechanisms and the physiologucal role of IGFBP-1.

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