IGF signaling is involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis in a wide range of tissues, both normal and diseased, and so IGF-IR has been the focus of intense interest as a promising drug target. In this computational study on cartilage, we focus on two questions: (i) what are the key factors influencing IGF-IR complex formation, and (ii) how might cells regulate IGF-IR complex formation? We develop a reaction-diffusion computational model of the IGF system involving twenty three parameters. A series of parametric and sensitivity studies are used to identify the key factors influencing IGF signaling. From the model we predict the free IGF and IGF-IR complex concentrations throughout the tissue. We estimate the degradation half-lives of free IGF-I and IGFBPs in normal cartilage to be 20 and 100 mins respectively, and conclude that regulation of the IGF half-life, either directly or indirectly via extracellular matrix IGF-BP protease concentrations, are two critical factors governing the IGF-IR complex formation in the cartilage. Further we find that cellular regulation of IGF-II production, the IGF-IIR concentration and its clearance rate, all significantly influence IGF signaling. It is likely that negative feedback processes via regulation of these factors tune IGF signaling within a tissue, which may help explain the recent failures of single target drug therapies aimed at modifying IGF signaling. © 2013 Zhang et al.
Zhang, L., Smith, D. W., Gardiner, B. S., & Grodzinsky, A. J. (2013). Modeling the Insulin-Like Growth Factor System in Articular Cartilage. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066870