Association of Endocrine Factors (Insulin-Like Growth Factor-II and Binding Protein-3) with Litter Size in Pigs

J. S. Yun, W. J. Kang, D. S. Seo, S. S. Park, K. C. Hong, C. Y. Lee, Y. Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Litter size has been one of the important economic traits in porcine reproduction. The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system has been shown to mediate actions of the steroid hormone or to synergize with other endocrine factors so that it consequently plays roles in reproductive processes, including ovulation, implantation, maintenance of pregnancy, and fetal development. However, the effect of the serum IGF system on porcine litter size has not been deeply studied. Therefore, this study was conducted to relate serum IFG-II concentration and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) expression with porcine litter size. Moreover, the possible association of those with estrogen receptor (ER) as a candidate gene for litter size was investigated. Swine were separated into two groups showing high and low litter sizes, and sera were collected from sows in the estrous cycle to postnatal growth of their female progeny. Serum IFG-II concentration was measured by radioimmunoassay and IGFBP-3 expression was detected by Western ligand blotting. During the estrous cycle, IGFBP-3 expression in both groups decreased moderately from metestrus to estrus, but IFG-II concentration showed a reverse pattern. Also, IFG-II concentration and IGFBP-3 expression decreased gradually as pregnancy proceeded. Unlike IGFBP-3, IFG-II decreased moderately as newborn pigs grew. Significant differences In serum IFG-II amount between the two groups were detected at 60 (p<0.01), 75, 90, and 105 d (p<0.05) of pregnancy and at 60 (p<0.01), 45, and 105 d (p<0.05) of postnatal growth. Furthermore, based on ER genotypes, a high litter size group with genotypes AB and BB showed lower IFG-II concentration than a low litter size group with a genotype AA during pregnancy. Taken together, the results indicate that the serum IFG-II and IGFBP-3 are correlated with the litter size in pigs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalAsian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Mar


  • ER
  • IGF-II
  • IGFBP-3
  • Litter Size
  • Pig

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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