Evidence exists supporting an important role for insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) during fetal growth. In the present report we performed studies to define whether developing chick retina contains IGFs and whether IGFs play a role in the growth of this tissue. We have shown that both IGF-I and IGF-II are present in chick embryo retina throughout development (7th-18th day). The highest values, when expressed as ng/g of tissue, were found in the youngest retinas studied (7th-9th day) and at 16th-18th day of development. During whole development the content of IGF-II was about two to three times higher than that ascertained for IGF-I. The tissue also contains cell-surface binding for IGFs. However, the developmental pattern of IGF-I binding was quite different from that found for IGFs, showing the highest values during the second week of development. Competitive studies showed that this receptor has a high affinity for IGF-I, a lower affinity for IGF-II, and a very much lower affinity for insulin. Also anti-IGF-I receptor antibody (αIR3) inhibited labeled IGF-I binding to the receptor. Such results indicate the presence of type I IGF receptor in chick embryo retina. Affinity labeling experiments have confirmed this hypothesis. We have also shown that cultured retinal explants contain, synthesize and release into the medium appreciable amounts of IGFs. Both exogenous IGF-I and IGF-II added to the culture medium stimulated DNA synthesis of retinal explants. Evidence that the retinas produce IGFs and possess IGF-IR together with the growth-promoting effect of IGFs suggests that these factors play an important role as regulators of retinal growth.
- Chick embryo retina
- Insulin-like growth factor
- Insulin-like growth factor receptor
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