Bioavailable IGF-1 is beneficially associated with biomarkers of endothelial function in young healthy adults: The African-PREDICT study

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2018 Aug;41:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2018.06.002. Epub 2018 Jun 12.


Introduction: Low circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are associated with endothelial dysfunction, subsequently leading to the development of cardiovascular disease.

Objective: To better understand the early phases of vascular deterioration in a young, healthy population, we investigated, cross-sectionally, whether biomarkers of endothelial function (intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and von Willebrand factor antigen (vWFag)) are associated with IGF-1 in a healthy study population forming part of the larger African Prospective study on the Early Detection and Identification of Cardiovascular diseases and Hypertension (African-PREDICT).

Method: We included 825 black and white men and women (aged 20-30 years) and determined IGF-1, IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and vWFag from blood samples. We also measured 24-h blood pressure and health behaviours namely waist circumference, accelerometery, cotinine and gamma glutamyl transferase. We used the IGF-1/IGFBP-3 M ratio as an estimate of bioavailable IGF-1.

Results: In multivariable-adjusted regression analyses performed in the total group, VCAM-1 associated positively with IGFBP-3 (β = 0.21; p < .001) and negatively with IGF-1/IGFBP-3 (β = -0.18; p < .001). ICAM-1 showed a borderline negative association with IGF-1 (β = -0.09; p = .054) and IGF-1/IGFBP-3 (β = -0.08; p = .057). vWFag was not associated with IGF-1, IGFBP-3 or bioavailable IGF-1.

Conclusion: VCAM-1 is beneficially associated with IGF-1 in a young healthy cohort, independent of sex, ethnicity, blood pressure and health behaviours - thereby confirming the potential importance of bioavailable IGF-1 in early vascular endothelial protection.

Keywords: Age; Endothelial activation; Insulin-like growth factor-1; Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3; Intercellular adhesion molecule-1; Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1; Vascular function; Youth; von Willebrand factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • ICAM1 protein, human
  • IGF1 protein, human
  • IGFBP3 protein, human
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I