• Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1;
  • Insulin-like growth factor-1;
  • Iron;
  • Large for gestational age;
  • Small for gestational age;
  • Zinc


Aim:  To correlate placental protein levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP)-1, with previously determined levels of IGF-I and IGF-II mRNA expression, and the micronutrients zinc and iron, and maternal and newborn anthropometry.

Methods:  Placental samples were collected from rural field sites in Pakistan. Samples were divided into small and large for gestational age groups (SGA and LGA, respectively). IGFBP-1 levels were assessed using Western immunoblotting. IGF-I protein levels were assessed using ELISA techniques. IGF mRNA expression, zinc, and iron, were quantified as previously described and were used for comparative purposes only.

Results:  Thirty-three subjects were included (SGA, n = 12; LGA n = 21). Higher levels of IGFBP-1 were seen in the SGA group (p < 0.01). IGFBP-1 correlated positively with maternal and infant triceps skin-fold thickness in the LGA and SGA groups, respectively (p < 0.05). Significantly lower IGF-I protein levels were seen in the SGA group. IGF-I levels correlated significantly with maternal and newborn anthropometry. IGFBP-1 correlated significantly with IGF-II mRNA expression (p < 0.05).

Conclusion:  Placental protein levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-1 appear to be associated with maternal anthropometry. Maternal anthropometry may thus influence IGFBP-1 and IGF-I levels and may possibly be used for screening of pregnancies, with the potential for timely identification of these high-risk pregnancies.