Context: The mechanisms underpinning intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), as a result of placental insufficiency, remain poorly understood, no specific treatment is available, and clinically useful biomarkers for early detection are lacking. Objective: We hypothesized that human IUGR is associated with inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) and activation of amino acid response (AAR) signaling, increased protein kinase casein kinase-2 (CK2) activity, and increased insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1) expression and phosphorylation in decidua and that maternal plasma IGFBP-1 hyperphosphorylation in the first trimester predicts later development of IUGR. Design, Setting, and Participants: Decidua [n = 16 appropriate-for-gestational age (AGA); n = 16 IUGR] and maternal plasma (n = 13 AGA; n = 13 IUGR) were collected at delivery from two different cohorts. In addition, maternal plasma was obtained in the late first trimester from a third cohort of women (n = 7) who later delivered an AGA or IUGR infant. Main Outcome Measures: Total IGFBP-1 expression and phosphorylation (Ser101/Ser119/Ser169), mTOR, AAR, and CK2 activity in decidua and IGFBP-1 concentration and phosphorylation in maternal plasma. Results: We show that decidual IGFBP-1 expression and phosphorylation are increased, mTOR is markedly inhibited, and AAR and CK2 are activated in IUGR. Moreover, IGFBP-1 hyperphosphorylation in first-trimester maternal plasma is associated with the development of IUGR. Conclusions: These data are consistent with the possibility that the decidua functions as a nutrient sensor linking limited oxygen and nutrient availability to increased IGFBP-1 phosphorylation, possibly mediated by mTOR and AAR signaling. IGFBP-1 hyperphosphorylation in first-trimester maternal plasma may serve as a predictive IUGR biomarker, allowing early intervention.
The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Institute of Biochemistry

Gupta, M.B. (Madhulika B.), Abu Shehab, M. (Majida), Nygard, K. (Karen), Biggar, K.K, Singal, S.S. (Sahil S.), Santoro, N. (Nanette), … Jansson, T. (Thomas). (2019). IUGR Is Associated With Marked Hyperphosphorylation of Decidual and Maternal Plasma IGFBP-1. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 104(2), 408–422. doi:10.1210/jc.2018-00820