Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are bound by several IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) that appear to regulate IGF transportation, receptor binding and action. In adult human serum, most of IGFs are bound in a 150 kDa complex which could not cross the capillary wall. We measured IGF-I and IGFBPs in chyle by radioimmunoassay and western ligand blot. The concentration of IGF-I in chyle was only 15% of the corresponding serum level and most of IGF-I was found in 50 kDa complex. The IGFBPs profile in chyle, especially IGFBP-3, was different from that of serum. The concentration of IGFBP-3 in chyle was much less than in serum and the size of glycosylated IGFBP-3 was different from that of serum. However, the size and relative amount of IGFBP-1 and -2 in chyle were similar to serum. This finding indicates that IGF-I and IGFBPs in chyle to a large extent originate in the vascular system and only the 50 kDa complex can cross the capillary barrier
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