This paper describes conditions wherein the serum peptides insulin and IGF1, which are typically associated with growth-promoting functions, can suppress in vitro immune responses. IL 2-induced proliferation of lymphocytes as well as in vitro antibody-producing cultures are suppressed by physiologic concentrations of IGF1 or by superphysiologic concentrations of insulin. Suppression of IL 2-induced proliferation is not overcome by increasing the IL 2 concentration and is mediated only during the first 24 to 48 hr of the 110-hr incubation period required to measure the proliferative response to IL 2. By analogy to other biologic systems, these effects of insulin and of IGF1 are probably mediated by occupancy of the IGF1-receptor, which is cross-occupied by insulin at superphysiologic concentrations. These data support the possibility of a novel function for these endocrine and endocrine-like peptides and also expands their range of biologic activities to within the immune system.

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