Proteolysis of insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 in human immunodeficiency virus-positive children who fail to thrive

Robert A. Frost, Sharon A. Nachman, Charles H. Lang, Marie C. Gelato

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58 Scopus citations


Failure to thrive is a common manifestation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in children. Given the role of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in stimulating postnatal growth, we have examined whether HIV-infected pediatric patients with growth failure have lower serum concentrations of IGF-I than age-matched control subjects. IGF-I was measured in 16 HIV-infected children and 13 HIV-negative controls. Ten of the HIV- infected children failed to thrive based on height and linear growth that was below the National Center for Health Statistics 10th percentile. IGF-I levels were significantly lower in children who failed to thrive compared to those in age-matched controls (20 vs. 60 μg/L; P < 0.001). Children who failed to thrive also displayed lower IGF-I levels than HIV-positive children, who exhibited normal growth velocity (20 vs. 91 μg/L; P < 0.001). Failure to thrive was associated with a significant reduction in circulating levels of IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), as determined by ligand and Western blotting (P < 0.001), enhanced IGFBP-3 proteolysis (P < 0.001), and a decrease in the serum concentration of the acid-labile subunit of the IGFBP-3 ternary complex (P < 0.005). IGFBP-3 proteolysis was negatively correlated with IGF-I (r = 0.78) and IGFBP-3 levels (r = 0.70). Failure to thrive was associated with a reduction in the formation of the ternary complex, but the ternary complex could be restored by the addition of an excess of IGFBP-3 to serum. These results indicate that low levels of IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and acid-labile subunit are associated with a failure to thrive in HIV-infected children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2957-2962
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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