Molecular and cellular endocrinology vol:69 issue:1 pages:79-89
The production of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and IGF-I binding protein (BP) was investigated in Sertoli, Leydig and peritubular cells derived from the immature rat testis and cultured in vitro. It is demonstrated that all these cells secrete not only IGF-I but also IGF-I BP. In Sertoli cells follitropin (FSH) and other agonists which increase intracellular cAMP stimulate IGF-I secretion but inhibit IGF-I BP release. The response of the BP is pronounced and very sensitive which makes it a new and useful parameter of FSH action. The calcium ionophore A23187 markedly decreases IGF-I BP production in Sertoli cells without noticeable effect on IGF-I itself. This effect can only partially be mimicked by a phorbol ester suggesting that intracellular calcium itself may play a major role in the control of IGF-I BP secretion. Peritubular cells produce high amounts of IGF-I and low amounts of IGF-I BP. Androgens do not affect the production of IGF-I or its BP neither by monocultures nor by cocultures of peritubular and Sertoli cells. In Leydig cells, lutropin (LH) and cAMP stimulate both IGF-I and IGF-I BP secretion. The production of IGF-I by Leydig-Sertoli cocultures clearly exceeds that expected from the monocultures suggesting that cell-cell interactions may also play a role in the control of testicular IGF-I production. The observation that the production of IGF-I and its activity are tightly and independently controlled supports the contention that this growth factor plays an important role in the paracrine and autocrine control of testicular function. Whether IGF-I BP increases or decreases the effects of IGF-I in the testis remains to be investigated.