Studies on binding and mitogenic effect of insulin and insulin-like growth factor I in glomerular mesangial cells

Francesco G. Conti, Liliane J. Striker, Maxine A. Lesniak, Karen MacKay, Jesse Roth, Gary E. Striker

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123 Scopus citations


The mesangial cells, as part of their smooth muscle cell function, are actively involved in regulating glomerular hemodynamics. Their overlying endothelium is fenestrated; therefore, these cells are directly exposed to plasma substances, including hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). These peptides may contribute to the mesangial sclerosis and cellular hyperplasia that characterize diabetic glomerulopathy. We report herein the characterization of the receptors and the mitogenic effects of IGF-I and insulin on mouse glomerular mesangial cells in culture. The IGF-I receptor was characterized on intact cells. The Kd of the IGF-I receptor was 1.47 × 10-9 M, and the estimated number of sites was 64,000 receptors/cell. The binding was time, temperature, and pH dependent, and the receptor showed downregulation after exposure to serum. The expression of the receptor did not change on cells at different densities. The specific binding for insulin was too low to allow characterization of the insulin receptor on intact cells. However, it was possible to identify the insulin receptor in a wheat germ agglutinin- purified preparation of solubilized mesangial cells. This receptor showed the characteristic features of the insulin receptor, including pH dependence of binding and a curvilinear Scatchard plot. The mitogenic effects of insulin and IGF-I on mesangial cells were measured by the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into DNA. IGF-I was more potent than insulin. The half-maximal response to IGF-I stimulation occurred at 1.3 × 10-10 M, and a similar increase with insulin was observed at concentrations in the range of 10-7 M, suggesting that this insulin action was mediated through the IGF-I receptor. These data show that the mouse microvascular smooth muscle cells of the glomerulus express a cell surface receptor for IGF-I in vitro and that this peptide is a potent mitogen for these mesangial cells. It may, therefore, play a role in glomerular proliferative lesions. The insulin receptor is present in small numbers and does not mediate mitogenesis in mesangial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2788-2795
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes


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