Metabolic improvement after gastric bypass correlates with changes in IGF-regulatory proteins stanniocalcin-2 and IGFBP-4

Rikke Hjortebjerg, Kirstine N Bojsen-Møller, Mette Søeby, Claus Oxvig, Sten Madsbad, Jan Frystyk

9 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) is an enzyme that increases IGF-activity through cleavage of IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs), primarily IGFBP-4, whereby bound IGF-I becomes released as a free molecule. The enzymatic activity of PAPP-A is irreversibly suppressed by the glycoprotein stanniocalcin-2 (STC2). Pre-clinical and clinical studies suggest that the STC2 - PAPP-A - IGFBP-4 axis is important in controlling local IGF-action. STC2, PAPP-A and IGFBP-4 are expressed in adipose tissue, and as bariatric surgery markedly reduces the amount of fat, we found it relevant to study the impact of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) on circulating concentrations of this IGF-regulatory network.

METHODS: Analysis of fasting blood samples from 20 obese subjects, hereof 10 with preoperative type 2 diabetes, investigated before RYGB, and 1 week, 3 months and 12 months post-surgery. Members of the IGF-system were analyzed by immunoassays, bioactive IGF by cell-based IGF-I receptor activation assay. We compared changes in IGF-system components with changes in fasting plasma insulin and glucose, and HbA1c.

RESULTS: PAPP-A remained unchanged, but STC2 decreased following RYGB (P < 0.05). The PAPP-A substrate IGFBP-4 declined (P < 0.01), whereas levels of PAPP-A specific IGFBP-4 fragments increased (P < 0.05), indicating an increased PAPP-A enzymatic activity post-RYGB. Further, the reduction in intact IGFBP-4 correlated with increased levels of bioactive IGF (P < 0.05). In multivariable regression analyses, an improved glucose metabolism correlated with reductions in STC2 and IGFBP-4, and with increases in bioactive IGF and IGF-I (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: After 12 months, RYGB caused reduced serum concentrations of intact IGFBP-4 and STC2, whereas serum PAPP-A remained at pre-operative levels. However, concentrations of PAPP-A generated IGFBP-4 fragments increased, pointing to an overall increased PAPP-A enzymatic activity following RYGB. Notably, reductions in intact IGFBP-4 and STC2 associated with improvements in glucose metabolism. Therefore, we propose that STC2 and IGFBP-4 are involved in the metabolic improvement that follows RYGB.

Original languageEnglish
Article number154886
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Insulin like growth factor binding protein 4 (IGFBP-4)
  • Insulin like growth factor I (IGF-I)
  • Pregnancy associated plasma protein (PAPP-A)
  • Roux-en-Y-gastric bypass (RYGB)
  • Stanniocalcin-2 (STC2)


Dive into the research topics of 'Metabolic improvement after gastric bypass correlates with changes in IGF-regulatory proteins stanniocalcin-2 and IGFBP-4'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this