The IGF axis in the prostate

Horm Metab Res. 1994 Feb;26(2):81-4. doi: 10.1055/s-2007-1000777.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis is a multi-component network of molecules involved in the regulation of cell growth. The axis includes two major ligands, (IGF-I and IGF-II), cell surface receptors, (the type I IGF receptor family as well as the type II IGF receptor), a family of high affinity binding proteins which regulate IGF availability to the receptors, (the IGFBPs), and a group of IGFBP proteases which cleave IGFBBPs and modulate IGF action. Human seminal plasma contains IGF-I and -II, IGFBP-2 and -4, as well as IGFBP-3 fragments and IGFBP-3 protease activity. A prostatic source for these IGF-axis molecules is likely. We have demonstrated the human prostate to contain all the elements of a functional IGF system. Prostate fibroblasts in primary culture (PC-F) express mRNA for IGF-II and produce IGF-II peptide in biologically active concentrations. This IGF-II appears to be of a high molecular weight (15 kD) species. Prostate epithelial cells in primary culture (PC-E) express the type I IGF receptor. These cells also produce IGFBP-2 and -4, (on both mRNA and peptide levels), while PC-F secrete IGFBP-2, -3 and -4. PC-E are exquisitely sensitive to the mitogenic effects of IGFs. Finally, prostate specific antigen (PSA), secreted from PC- and found in seminal plasma, can function as a potent IGFBP-3 protease. This IGFBP-3 protease activity can remove the inhibitory effects of IGFBP-3 on IGF-I induced PC-3 growth.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate / cytology
  • Prostate / physiology*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 2 / biosynthesis
  • Receptor, IGF Type 2 / physiology
  • Somatomedins / physiology*


  • Receptor, IGF Type 2
  • Somatomedins