Free IGF-I, IGFBP-1, and the binary complex of IGFBP-1 and IGF-I are increased during human pregnancy

Christian Skjaerbaek, Jan Frystyk, Hans Orskov, Allan Flyvbjerg

18 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND/AIMS: To investigate changes in free insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) complexed IGF-I during human pregnancy.

METHODS: Overnight fasting serum was obtained in a longitudinal design from 11 women with non-complicated pregnancy at gestation weeks 6-10, 16-20, 24-28 and 35-38 and, for comparison, 5 weeks post-partum. All samples were analyzed for total and free IGF-I and IGF-II, IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-3 proteolysis, total and non-phosphorylated (np-) IGFBP-1, and IGFBP-1 complexed IGF-I.

RESULTS: Total IGF-I was increased in late pregnancy (week 35-38) (p < 0.001), whereas free IGF-I was significantly increased by 77% already at week 6-10 (p = 0.004) and by 140% (p = 0.002) at week 34-38, when compared to post-partum levels. At weeks 16-20 and 24-28, levels of free IGF-I were not significantly different from post-partum levels. Significant IGFBP-3 proteolysis was detectable from week 6-10 and throughout pregnancy (p < 0.05). Total and np-IGFBP-1 were significantly increased from 16-20 weeks of pregnancy (both p < 0.05) and IGFBP-1 complexed IGF-I was increased 2-fold from week 16-20 and throughout pregnancy (p < 0.05). However, the saturation of IGFBP-1 remained constant at 27-29% during the study.

CONCLUSION: We found evidence of increased free IGF-I and increased IGF-I in binary complexes during pregnancy, possibly caused by IGFBP-3 proteolysis and decreased ternary complex formation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHormone Research
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)215-20
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Time Factors
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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