The growth-regulating actions of IGFs are modulated by their binding proteins (IGFBPs). The serum concentration of IGFBP-1 is down-regulated by insulin, and in-vitro studies have demonstrated that IGFBP-1 secretion from various tissues and cells can be stimulated by theophylline, forskolin, oestrogen and progesterone. We have studied the effects and mechanisms of thyroid hormone action on IGFBP-1 gene expression and secretion by human hepatoma cells in vitro.
Tri-iodothyronine dose-dependently enhanced IGFBP-1 secretion in serum-free HepG2 cell cultures after 24–48 h of exposure, as measured by a specific immunofluorometric assay. This was accompanied by an increase (+ 50%) in the amount of IGFBP-1 mRNA, which could be prevented by cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor. Cycloheximide transiently enhanced (+ 200%) the accumulation of IGFBP-1 mRNA at 3–12 h of incubation, when no effect of tri-iodothyronine was observed. It is concluded that thyroid hormone stimulates IGFBP-1 secretion slowly by enhancing IGFBP-1 gene expression by a protein mediator. The acute stimulation of IGFBP-1 gene transcription by cycloheximide associates this gene with a number of growth-related genes encoding growth- and tumour-associated peptides.