Endocrine profiles were examined in swine that had integrated and expressed a fusion gene consisting of mouse metallothionein-1 (MT) promoter fused to either a human (h) or bovine (b) GH structural gene. Eleven of 18 pigs that had integrated MT-hGH and eight of nine pigs that had integrated MT-bGH expressed the genes. The level of expression varied widely among pigs (14-4551 μg/l for MT-hGH and 23-1578 μg/l for MT-bGH). The level of expression varied over time within each pig with no general pattern. Concentrations of porcine GH (pGH) were lower in MT-hGH pigs that expressed the gene than in non-expressors or in littermate controls. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentrations increased with age in all pigs and were raised threefold in pigs expressing either the MT-hGH or MT-bGH genes. Measurement of the foreigh GH in samples taken at 15-min intervals failed to reveal any short-term fluctuations in concentration. Administration of hGH releasing factor (GRF) to pigs expressing MT-bGH resulted in attenuated release of pGH compared with that of contemporary controls. Concentrations of bGH did not change after GRF injection. Human and bovine GH expressed in transgenic pigs appear to be biologically active in that they induce IGF-I and suppress endogenous pGH secretion. The failure to find short-term fluctuations and the lack of response to GRF injections are consistent with a non-pituitary and non-GRF regulatable site of production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism