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Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-5 (IGFBP-5) potentially regulates programmed cell death and plasminogen activation in the mammary gland

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


This study aims to investigate the mechanism by which prolactin and GH interact to maintain mammary epithelial cell function in the rat. IGF-I is an important survival factor for the mammary gland and we have demonstrated that the effects of GH and prolactin involve IGF-I. GH acts by increasing IGF-I whilst prolactin acts by inhibiting the expression of IGFBP-5 from the mammary epithelium. During mammary involution, when serum prolactin levels decline, IGFBP-5 expression is dramatically upregulated and it binds with high affinity to IGF-I preventing IGF-I interaction with the IGF-receptor and thus leading to epithelial cell apoptosis. We have identified a specific interaction of IGFBP-5 with alpha s2-casein. This milk protein has also been shown to bind plasminogen and its activator tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) leading to enhanced conversion of plasminogen to plasmin. Plasmin is an important initiator of re-modelling of the extracellular matrix during mammary involution. A potential interaction between the cell death and extracellular matrix remodelling is evident from the observation that IGFBP-5 binds to plasminogen activator inhibitor-I (PAI-1). We thus hypothesized that IGFBP-5 could activate cell death by sequestration of IGF-I and activate plasminogen cleavage by sequestering PAI-1. In support of this hypothesis we have shown that both prolactin and GH inhibit tPA activity and plasminogen activation in the involuting mammary gland. Our results suggest that GH and prolactin inhibit cell death and ECM remodelling via the IGF-axis and also indicate a novel role for the milk protein alpha s2-casein in this process. We have now established lines of transgenic mice expressing IGFBP-5 on the beta-lactoglobulin promoter to explore its function in greater detail.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Apoptosis, Female, Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 5, Mammary Glands, Animal, Mice, Plasminogen, Plasminogen Activators, Rats

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