What is the role of insulinlike growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) in the pathophysiology of hyposomatotropism (growth hormone deficiency [GHD])?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Sunil Kumar Sinha, MD; Chief Editor: Robert P Hoffman, MD  more...
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Six high-affinity insulinlike growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) bind IGFs in the circulation and tissues, regulating IGF bioavailability to the IGF receptors. Under most conditions, IGFBPs appear to inhibit the action of IGFs by competing with IGF receptors for IGF peptides. However, under specific conditions, several IGFBPs can enhance IGF actions or exert IGF-independent actions.

Relative concentrations of the IGFBPs vary among biologic fluids. IGFBP-3 is the most abundant IGFBP species in human serum and circulates as part of a ternary complex consisting of IGFBP-3, an IGF molecule, and a glycoprotein called the acid-labile subunit. IGFBP-3 is the only IGFBP that clearly demonstrates GH dependence. Therefore, IGFBP-3 is a clinically useful tool for the diagnosis of GHD and the follow-up care of patients.

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