The expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was examined in subcutaneous (SQ) adipose tissue from 105-day pig fetuses by ribonuclease protection assays and in situ hybridization using a porcine IGF-1 riboprobe. Fetuses were hypophysectomized (hypox) at 70 days of gestation and at 90 days thyroxine (T4) pellets were implanted into some of the hypox fetuses. Fetuses were removed and SQ tissues collected on day 105 of gestation. RNase protection assays followed by scanning laser densitometry revealed that IGF- 1 mRNA in SQ adipose tissue in hypox fetuses was significantly decreased to 19.8 ± 1.2% of control values. T4 treatment increased the expression of IGF- 1 by 174 ± 26.6% of values for hypox fetuses. Using in situ hybridization we showed that fetal hypophysectomy reduced and T4 treatment increased expression of IGF-1 mRNA in the outer SQ adipose tissue layer (P < 0.05). However, T4 treatment after hypox did not influence IGF-1 expression in the inner SQ layer (P > 0.05). IGF-1 was expressed around capillaries, in small fat cells, and in fibroblasts in loose and dense connective tissue. Large fat cells, however, did not express IGF-1. Collectively, we concluded that (1) IGF-1 mRNA was decreased after hypox and increased by T4 treatment in SQ tissue of 105-day fetuses; (2) The expression of the IGF-1 gene was more sensitive to T4 treatment after hypox in outer SQ tissue than in inner SQ tissue; (3) Most stromal cells produced IGF-1 mRNA, and as a result they may influence adipogenesis in the outer layer of SQ adipose tissue; and (4) Once fat cells enlarged, expression of IGF-1 was not detected. Therefore, these studies provide evidence that IGF-1 may mediate the influence of T4 on fetal adipogenesis.
- Insulin-like growth factor