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Forskningsartikel2022Vetenskapligt granskad

Circulating insulin-like growth factor system adaptations in hibernating brown bears indicate increased tissue IGF availability

Frobert, Anne Mette; Brohus, Malene; Roesen, Tinna S.; Kindberg, Jonas; Frobert, Ole; Conover, Cheryl A.; Overgaard, Michael T.


Brown bears conserve muscle and bone mass during 6 mo of inactive hibernation. The molecular mechanisms underlying hiber-nation physiology may have translational relevance for human therapeutics. We hypothesize that protective mechanisms involve increased tissue availability of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs). In subadult Scandinavian brown bears, we observed that mean plasma IGF-1 and IGF-2 levels during hibernation were reduced to 36 +/- 10% and 56 +/- 15%, respectively, compared with the active state (n = 12). Western ligand blotting identified IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-3 as the major IGFBP in the active state, whereas IGFBP-2 was codominant during hibernation. Acid labile subunit (ALS) levels in hibernation were reduced to 41 & PLUSMN;16% compared with the active state (n = 6). Analysis of available grizzly bear RNA sequencing data revealed unaltered liver mRNA IGF-1, IGFBP-2, and IGFBP-3 levels, whereas ALS levels were significantly reduced during hibernation (n = 6). Reduced ALS synthesis and cir-culating levels during hibernation should prompt a shift from ternary IGF/IGFBP/ALS to smaller binary IGF/IGFBP complexes, thereby increasing IGF tissue availability. Indeed, size-exclusion chromatography of bear plasma demonstrated a shift to lower molecular weight IGF-containing complexes in the hibernating versus the active state. Furthermore, we note that the major IGF-2 mRNA isoform expressed in livers in both Scandinavian brown bears and grizzly bears was an alternative splice variant in which Ser29 is replaced with a tetrapeptide possessing a positively charged Arg residue. Homology modeling of the bear IGF-2/ IGFBP-2 complex showed the tetrapeptide in proximity to the heparin-binding domain involved in bone-specific targeting of this complex. In conclusion, this study provides data which suggest that increased IGF tissue availability combined with tissue -spe-cific targeting contribute to tissue preservation in hibernating bears. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Brown bears shift from circulating ternary IGF/IGFBP/ALS complexes in the active state to binary IGF/IGFBP complexes during hibernation, indicating increased tissue IGF-bioactivity. Furthermore, brown bears use a splice variant of IGF-2, suggesting increased bone-specific targeting of IGF anabolic signaling.


acid labile subunit (ALS); hibernation; IGF-binding protein (IGFBP); insulin-like growth factor (IGF); Ursus arctos

Publicerad i

AJP - Endocrinology and Metabolism
2022, Volym: 323, nummer: 3, sidor: E307-E318

    UKÄ forskningsämne

    Biokemi och molekylärbiologi

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