Following tissue injury, a fibrin network formed at the wound site serves as a scaffold supporting the early migration of stromal cells needed for wound healing. Growth factors such as insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentrate in wounds to stimulate stromal cell function and proliferation. The ability of IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) such as IGFBP-3 to reduce the rate of IGF-I clearance from wounds suggests that IGFBP-3 might bind directly to fibrinogen/fibrin. Studies presented here show that IGFBP-3 does indeed bind to fibrinogen and fibrin immobilized on immunocapture plates, with K(d) values = 0.67 and 0.70 nM, respectively, and competitive binding studies suggest that the IGFBP-3 heparin binding domain may participate in this binding. IGF-I does not compete for IGFBP-3 binding; instead, IGF-I binds immobilized IGFBP-3.fibrinogen and IGFBP-3.fibrin complexes with affinity similar to that of IGF-I for the type I IGF receptor. In the presence of plasminogen, most IGFBP-3 binds directly to fibrinogen, although 35-40% of the IGFBP-3 binds to fibrinogen-bound plasminogen. IGFBP-3 also binds specifically to native fibrin clots, and addition of exogenous IGFBP-3 increases IGF-I binding. These studies suggest that IGF-I can concentrate at wound sites by binding to fibrin-immobilized IGFBP-3, and that the lower IGF affinity of fibrin-bound IGFBP-3 allows IGF-I release to type I IGF receptors of stromal cells migrating into the fibrin clot.
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