Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein (IGFBP)-2 and -3 are the most prevalent IGFBPs in porcine follicular fluid, as determined on ligand blots, but little is known about the localization and regulation of their synthesis in vivo. This study was designed to investigate the localization and cyclic regulation of the mRNA for these two IGFBPs in the porcine ovary. RNA was extracted from whole ovaries morphologically classified as immature, preovulatory, and luteal. Northern hybridization analysis of this RNA showed no significant difference in the expression of IGFBP-2 mRNA in these ovaries (OD for preovulatory, luteal, and immature ovaries, 0.076 ± 0.01, 0.071 ± 0.01, and 0.10 ± 0.008/µg RNA, respectively). IGFBP-3 mRNA was not different in immature and preovulatory ovaries, but was 10-fold greater (P < 0.025) in luteal ovaries. Northern analysis of RNA extracted from ovaries also showed no significant changein IGFBP-2 mRNA on days (d) 11, 16, and 21 of the estrous cycle. IGFBP-3 mRNA tended to decrease between d11-16 with the onset of luteal regression and was significantly decreased in d21 preovulatory ovaries to 22% of the values in d11 ovaries. Granulosa, thecal, and luteal cells were also analyzed for IGFBP mRNA. IGFBP-2 mRNA was most abundant in granulosa cells, lower in thecal cells, and lowest in luteal cells. No IGFBP-3 mRNA could be detected in granulosa cells, and luteal cells expressed 15- to 63-fold greater levels than thecal cells. These results show that IGFBP-2 and -3 mRNAs are expressed in specific ovarian cell types and that their expression appears to be independently regulated during the reproductive cycle. This provides further evidence for the importance of these proteins as paracrine/autocrine regulators of ovarian function.
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