Physiology and functional biology of systems

Administration of bovine anti-IGF-1 immunoglobulin to dietary protein deficient rats alters dietary intake and plasma IGF-1 binding profiles, but does not affect change in body mass

N. N. Smitha1, M. J. Kellya2 p1, J. M. Pella3 and R. A. Hilla4 c1

a1 Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia

a2 University of New England, Armidale, Australia

a3 Molecular Signalling Laboratory, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, CB22 3AT, UK

a4 Animal and Veterinary Science, University of Idaho, 311 Agricultural Biotechnology Building, PO Box 442330, Moscow, Idaho 83844-2330, USA


The potential of antibodies raised against insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) as a treatment to enhance the anabolic actions of IGF-1 has been demonstrated in both rodent and ruminant models. We investigated whether treatment of genetically normal rats with anti-IGF-1 immunoglobulin (Ig, raised in cattle) would enhance growth and if anti-IGF-1 Ig treatment would ameliorate live-weight loss in genetically normal rats offered a severely protein-restricted diet. Scatchard analysis was used to characterise ammonium sulphate precipitated bovine anti-IGF-1 Ig. Anti-IGF-1 Ig binding to 125I-IGF-1 yielded an almost linear Scatchard plot, with a Hill co-efficient of 0.951 ± 0.012, indicating a single class of IGF-1 binding sites. The affinity of anti-IGF-1 Ig for IGF-1 was 2.14 ± 0.66 × 109 l/mol. The non-immune Ig preparation did not bind IGF-1. Rats were offered either a diet with a normal protein level (20%) or protein restricted (4% protein), and each dietary group was further treated with twice-daily i.p. injections of either diluent phosphate buffered saline, non-immune Ig or anti-IGF-1 Ig. Dietary protein level had a significant effect on live-weight gain, but there was no effect of non-immune Ig or anti-IGF-1 Ig on live-weight gain. Treatment with anti-IGF-1 Ig prevented the significant depression of cumulative dietary intake observed in diluent, and non-immune Ig treated groups offered the 4% protein diet. The cumulative dietary intake of the anti-IGF-1 Ig treated, 4% dietary protein group did not differ significantly from those of the groups offered the 20% protein diet. In addition, within the 4% dietary protein group, rats treated with non-immune Ig exhibited a cumulative feed intake that was intermediate between that of the diluent treated and anti-IGF-1 Ig treated groups (P < 0.05). Size exclusion chromatography was used to characterise in vitro 125I-IGF-1 binding in end-point plasma from each treatment group. In comparison to control groups, anti-IGF-1 Ig treatment resulted in substantially increased 125I-IGF-1 binding in the 30 to 40 kDa region and a concomitant reduction in elution of free 125I-IGF-1. Protein restriction markedly depressed IGF-1 binding at ∼150 kDa in the plasma of diluent and non-immune Ig treated groups. Anti-IGF-1 Ig treatment was effective in preventing this decrease in ∼150 kDa binding. Thus, anti-IGF-1 Ig appears to have a beneficial effect on dietary intake in protein-restricted rats, which is associated with induced changes in IGF-1 binding profiles in plasma.

(Received July 24 2008)

(Accepted March 09 2010)

(Online publication May 05 2010)


c1 E-mail:

p1 Present address: Pfizer Animal Genetics, 31 Dover Street, Albion, QLD 4010, Australia.