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Insulin-like growth factor II prevents apoptosis in a human teratoma derived cell line
  1. M Granerus,
  2. P Bierke,
  3. W Zumkeller,
  4. J Smith,
  5. W Engström,
  6. P N Schofield
  1. Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, PO Box 7028, S-75007 Uppsala, Sweden
  2. Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology, Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, UK


    Aim—To study how insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) affects the behaviour of human teratoma cells.

    Methods—The human pluripotential teratoma cell line Tera 2 was cultured under serum-free conditions in the presence or absence of IGF-II. Effects on cell proliferation and apoptosis as well as on the expression of the proto-oncogene c-myc were studied.

    Results—In this study we show that Tera 2 cells deprived of serum undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis). The onset of nuclear fragmentation was observed 12 hours after serum withdrawal. The morphological changes of the Tera 2 cell nuclei were confirmed by the occurrence of a nucleosome ladder. However, the constitutive expression of the proto-oncogene c-myc was not decreased in parallel with initiation of apoptosis. The apoptotic response to serum withdrawal could be counteracted by simultaneous addition of IGF-II. In addition it was found that human testicular tumours (seminoma and embryonal carcinoma) contain raised levels of insulin-like growth factors.

    Conclusions—The precise roles of IGF-I and IGF-II have been unclear, and there is overwhelming evidence against these factors as primarily transforming agents. The finding that IGF-II apparently counteracts apoptosis in vitro may well explain its effects on tumours in vivo.

    • Insulin-like growth factor
    • teratoma cells
    • testicular tumours
    • apoptosis

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