Plasma insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF-Binding proteins (IGFBPs), acid-labile subunit (ALS) and IGFBP-3 proteolysis in individuals with clinical characteristics of Sotos syndrome

J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Apr;17(4):615-27. doi: 10.1515/jpem.2004.17.4.615.


Objective: Sotos syndrome is an overgrowth syndrome of poorly understood aetiology. We investigated whether this syndrome is related to alterations in plasma insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), acid-labile subunit (ALS) and serum IGFBP-3 proteolysis.

Design: Based on clinical criteria, 32 patients with clinical characteristics of Sotos syndrome (median age 8.4 years, range 1.8-48.4) were categorised into three groups: typical (n = 10, group 1), dubious (n = 12, group 2) and atypical (n = 10, group 3). Blood samples were obtained from 29 patients.

Measurements: Plasma IGF-I, IGF-II, E-II (pro-IGF-II and E-domain fragments), IGFBP-2, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4, IGFBP-6 and ALS were measured by specific radioimmunoassays (RIAs). Except for E-II immunoreactivity, the concentrations were compared with those of age references, and expressed as standard deviation scores (SDS). IGFBP-3 proteolysis was assessed by incubation of serum with [125I]-IGFBP-3, followed by gel electrophoresis and was then compared with that in normal serum and third trimester pregnancy serum.

Results: Patients in group 1 showed significantly reduced plasma levels of IGF-II (median -0.9 SDS; p = 0.01), IGFBP-4 (-0.5 SDS; p = 0.02) and IGFBP-3 (-1.0 SDS; p = 0.01). Mean IGFBP-3 proteolysis was higher than in normal standard serum (61% vs 37%; p < 0.01) but lower than in third trimester pregnancy serum (94%; p < 0.01). Plasma IGF-I showed a tendency towards low values (median -0.9 SDS; p = 0.09), IGFBP-6 and ALS a tendency towards elevated levels (median values +0.8 SDS; p = 0.07 and +2.3 SDS; p = 0.09), and IGFBP-2 was normal. The mean value of E-II immunoreactivity was 8.7 nmol/l, similar to that in pooled normal plasma (8.6 nmol/l). Plasma and serum parameters in groups 2 and 3 were similar to reference values with the exception of plasma IGFBP-3 (in groups 2 and 3 median < or = -1.1 SDS; p < or = 0.02) and ALS (in group 3 median +1.3 SDS; p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Patients with typical Sotos syndrome show low plasma IGF-II, IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4, and increased proteolysis of IGFBP-3 in serum. The extent to which these findings are associated with the pathophysiology of Sotos syndrome remains uncertain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carrier Proteins / blood*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gigantism / blood*
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / metabolism*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Somatomedins / metabolism*
  • Syndrome


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Somatomedins
  • insulin-like growth factor binding protein, acid labile subunit
  • Peptide Hydrolases