Changes in IGF-I and -II expression and secretion during the proliferation and differentiation of normal rat osteoblasts

R. S. Birnbaum, R. R. Bowsher, K. M. Wiren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


IGF-I and -II have potent effects on proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts in vitro. These cells secrete both IGFs and expression of these peptides is regulated by several of the hormones and growth factors that promote bone resorption and/or formation. However, the physiological role(s) of IGFs in the remodelling process of adult bone is still unclear. Some confusion may arise from results influenced, in part, by differences in the state of osteoblast development of in vitro cultures. Several laboratories have demonstrated that murine osteoblast cultures progress from proliferating preosteoblasts, to mature differentiated osteoblasts that form an extracellular matrix, to cultures that form a mineralized matrix. We have recently documented changes in IGF-binding protein expression and secretion in these cultures. To complement and extend this work, we have examined IGF-I expression and secretion and IGF-II expression during in vitro osteoblast development. Steady-state mRNA levels of both IGF-I and -II increased from the earliest time examined, day 5 in culture, to a maximum at day 11 and, thereafter, declined. IGF-I secreted into the medium also changed in a biphasic manner, but IGF-II could not be quantitated due to the sensitivity of our assay. Secretion of IGF-I was lowest between days 8 and 14. IGF-I secretion on day 5 was significantly greater than day 8. Similarly, IGF-I secretion from day 17 to 26 was also greater than observed for days 8 to 14. If differentiation of the cells was inhibited, this late rise in IGF-I secretion was abolished. We conclude that IGF-I is an autocrine mitogen of the proliferating preosteoblasts. Further, we also suggest that the rise in IGF-I secretion, late in osteoblast development, may lead to sequestration of this mitogen in the extracellular matrix for release during a subsequent remodelling cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-259
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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