Regulation and Function of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-Binding Protein-1

Phillip D.K. Lee, Cheryl A. Conover, David R. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

373 Scopus citations


Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein (IGFBP)-1 is one of six structurally homologous proteins that specifically bind and modulate the mitogenic and metabolic actions of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-II. Of the six IGFBP, IGFBP-1 is the only one that displays rapid dynamic regulation in vivo, with serum levels varying 10-fold or more in relation to meals. The complementary cDNA for IGFBP-1 was first reported in 1988. The predicted 234-amino acid sequence has a molecular mass of 25.3 kDa. The N-terminal and C-terminal regions are highly homologous among rat, human, and bovine sequences, and contain 18 conserved cysteines which are postulated to provide a framework for ligand binding. The 65-residue midregion is less homologous and does not contain cysteines, but does include a Pro-Glu-Ser-Thr (PEST) domain that is typical of rapidly metabolized proteins. The gene for IGFBP-1 has been localized to human chromosome region 7p12-p14, where it is contiguous with the gene for IGFBP-3. IGFBP-1 mRNA and protein expression have been identified in human liver and uterine decidua, and in nonhuman kidney. In vitro and in vivo studies indicate that insulin is the primary regulator of IGFBP-1 expression in these tissues, and that the primary effect of insulin is rapid inhibition of transcription. On the other hand, cortisol, glucagon, and cAMP stimulate IGFBP-1 production. Limited data also show a potent stimulatory effect of phorbol esters. A detailed review of IGFBP-1 levels and physiology in vivo and in vitro is presented. The function of IGFBP-1 is not completely defined. However, several studies demonstrate that IGFBP-1 inhibits IGF binding to cell surface receptors and thereby inhibits IGF-mediated mitogenic and cell metabolic actions. Furthermore, IGFBP-1 regulation by insulin and glucoregulatory hormones in vitro and limited in vivo data are consistent with a role for IGFBP-1 in glucose counterregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-29
Number of pages26
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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