Insulin-like growth factor I stimulates proliferation, migration, and plasminogen activator release by human retinal pigment epithelial cells

Maria B. Grant, Colleen Guay, Robert Marsh

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The migration of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from their normal anatomic position to a new position in the vitreous cavity is a critical feature of proliferative vitreous retinopathy. To determine if insulin-like growth factor I (IGF I), which is present in the vitreous fluid of diabetics, stimulates RPE cells, we examined the effects of IGF I on the proliferation, chemotaxis, and release of plasminoqen activator by these cells. At the concentrations of IGF I tested, significant proliferation of RPE cells is seen. Significant chemotaxis of the RPE cells also is seen at all the concentrations of IGF I tested. The mean number of migrating cells per high-powered field in control studies was 43 ± 13 (x ± SEM), and for IGF I at 2.5 ng and 50 ng/ml the mean numbers of migrating cells were 96 ± 17 and 483 ± 62, respectively (P <0.001 for each comparison). The IGF I response was noted to be dose-dependent. The chemotactic response noted at 50 ng/ml of IGF I was greater than the positive chemotactic control of 10% fetal calf serum. Addition of αIR-3, an IGF I receptor antibody, eliminated the IGF I chemotactic response. The effect of IGF I on the secretion of plasminogen activators was assessed using an immunological assay for tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI). Media conditioned by RPE cells have measureable levels of PAI and t-PA antigen. IGF I supplementation resulted in an increase of t-PA secretion and PAI secretion over basal levels. These studies support a role for IGF I in modulating RPE cell function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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