Aims—To determine the role of insulin-like growth factors (IGF) in the proliferation of tumour cells, by studying the mitogenic response to IGFs of three cell lines of differing phenotype established from both malignant rhabdoid and Wilms tumour, representing a range of cell types (GOS 4, G401, and T3/73).
Methods—Production of IGF-II and IGF-I was measured by radioimmunoassay, and the presence of IGF binding protein complexes was observed by gel exclusion chromatography. Following growth analyses in serum-free media to ascertain the dependence of the cell lines on exogenous IGFs, the generation of autocrine growth was measured by a density dependence assay of proliferation in culture. Receptors were measured by radioligand cross linking and autocrine growth through these receptors assayed by the use of blocking antibodies.
Results—While GOS 4 and G401 were able to proliferate in serum-free medium over a period of 5 d, T3/73 showed an absolute dependence on IGFs added daily at 1-10 ng/ml. Plating at clonal density showed that cell growth was directly density dependent in serum-free medium. The serum independent proliferation of G401 and GOS 4 was blocked by the addition of an antibody to the type 1 IGF receptor (α-IR3) suggesting that the effects of autocrine factors are mediated through type 1 IGF receptors. S1 nuclease protection analysis indicated that all three cell lines produced significant amounts of mRNA derived mainly from the P3 IGF-II promoter, but transcripts for IGF-I were undetectable. Radioimmunoassay of IGFs from conditioned media showed that all the lines made assayable IGF-II (8·6, 8·4, and 6·1 ng/ml/24 h/106 cells for GOS 4, G401, and T3/73 respectively). The presence of species consistent with both type 1 and type II IGF receptors was demonstrated using radioligand binding to cell membranes followed by cross linking.
Conclusions—Autocrine IGF-II may contribute to the serum independence of GOS 4 and G401 cells, whereas T3/73 may depend on exogenous IGF-II for proliferation.
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