Coculture of primary rat hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells permits expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 in vitro.

Research paper by B C BC Villafuerte, B L BL Koop, C I CI Pao, L L Gu, G G GG Birdsong, L S LS Phillips

Indexed on: 01 May '94Published on: 01 May '94Published in: Endocrinology


In biological fluids, the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are associated with binding proteins (IGFBPs), which modify IGF distribution and action. Circulating IGFs are bound predominantly to IGFBP-3, of apparent hepatic origin, but regulation of IGFBP-3 has been difficult to dissect because of the lack of systems suitable for examining hepatic production of IGFBP-3 in vitro. In the present studies, IGFBP-3 expression was identified primarily in hepatic nonparenchymal cells, particularly Kupffer and sinusoidal endothelial cells. Coculture with hepatocytes enhanced the stability of nonparenchymal cells to express IGFBP-3 in vitro. IGFBP-3 in conditioned medium had apparent mol wt of 150-300 kilodaltons, suggesting formation of a ternary complex with IGFs and the acid-labile subunit. Expression and secretion of IGFBP-3 were hormonally responsive and strongly correlated (r = 0.79; P < 0.001), with 2- to 3-fold stimulation by added insulin or IGF-I (both P < 0.05), but not by added GH alone. Our findings suggest that GH may act indirectly to promote IGFBP-3 generation in vivo via increasing both the secretion of insulin and the hepatic production of IGF-I; in patients with diabetes mellitus, reduced circulating levels of IGFBP-3 despite high levels of GH may result from both insulin deficiency and inadequate hepatic production of IGF-I. Coculture of hepatic nonparenchymal and parenchymal cells should be useful for further analysis of the mechanism of IGFBP-3 regulation.