Recent observations disclosed the multiplicity of granulosa cell-derived high affinity insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBPs) and revealed the striking ability of high doses of FSH to suppress their constitutive release under both in vitro and in vivo circumstances. It is the objective of this communication to characterize in greater detail the modulatory effect(s) exerted by FSHon the elaboration of IGFBPs by granulosa cells from immature, estrogen-primed rats. The ability of FSH to regulate the elaboration of granulosa cell-derived IGFBPs proved dose-dependent but biphasic in nature. Specifically, FSH concentrations in the range of 1-3 ng/ml applied for 72 h produced a significant (P < 0.05) increase in polyethylene glycol-precipitable [125I]IGF-I binding activity corresponding to all IGFBP species detectable by ligand blotting. In contrast, treatment with higher concentrations (>10 ng/ml) of FSH resulted in progressive dose-dependent inhibition of the constitutive release of IGF-I binding activity (80% inhibition at the 100ng/ml dose level) and the virtual elimination of all detectable IGFBP species. Time-course studies disclosed a significant (P < 0.05) initial (apparent at the 24-h time point) stimulatory effect of a high dose of FSH (100 ng/ml) corresponding mostly (but not solely) to the single minor (23K) IGFBP band. In contrast, more prolonged exposure to FSH (>48 h) produced progressive time-dependent decrements in IGF-I binding activity, an effect associated with a decrease in the relative representation of the major band doublet (28-29K), the 23K species being all but eliminated under these experimental circumstances. Hypophy- sectomy produced significant (P < 0.05) inhibition of the subsequent in vitro release of granulosa cell-derived precipitable IGF-I binding activity strongly suggestingthat (presumptively stimulatory) pituitary principles other than FSH are likely involved in the regulation of granulosa cell IGFBP release and that the trophic influence of these putative agents appears to outweigh the potential disinhibition of FSH hormonal action. Taken together, these findings indicate that the pituitary regulation of granulosa cell-derived IGFBPs is complex and is not FSH-exclusive. Our findings further indicate that the ability of FSH to regulate granulosa cell-derived IGFBPs is dose- and time-dependent but biphasic in nature, an effect characterized by an early low-dose stimulatory effect and a late high-dose inhibitory effect. Although the physiological significance of the above observations remains uncertain, physiological considerations support the speculation that the biphasic nature of FSH hormonal action may play a role in determining the pace of follicular development and possibly the establishment of follicular dominance.
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