- The non-obese diabetic mouse is a model of spontaneous insulin-dependent diabetes as a result of autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, similar to the disease seen in human Type I diabetes. This mouse strain develops glomerular lesions reminiscent of those seen in human disease. The study presented here investigated the changes in renal insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in hyperglycemic non-obese diabetic mice. Female non-obese diabetic mice and their age- and sex-matched controls were euthanized 4 days, 2 wk, and 4 wk after the onset of glycosuria. Kidney weight increased in diabetic mice, beginning at 2 wk after the onset of glycosuria. This renal hypertrophy was associated with an increase in renal extractable IGF-I protein. However, a decrease in IGF-I mRNA was observed at the same time. Serum IGF-I levels remained stable after 2 wk of diabetes and decreased at 1 month. No change was detected in renal IGF-I receptor mRNA levels. Renal cortical IGF binding protein (IGFBP)-1 mRNA levels were increased. Ligand blot analysis revealed a significant increase in serum and renal 30-kd IGFBP and a decrease in serum and kidney IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4 at 30 days of diabetes. Insulin therapy prevented the increases in kidney weight, renal IGF-I, and 30-kd IGFBP, but did not reverse the decreased serum IGF-I levels observed at 1 month of diabetes. In summary, renal hypertrophy in non-obese diabetic mice is associated with a persistent accumulation of renal IGF-I and, IGFBP-1. These changes were partially reversed with insulin therapy, which did not correct the hyperglycemia, suggesting an important role for insulin deficiency in mediating these changes in the IGF system. These findings suggest that the IGF system may play a potential role in the development of diabetic nephropathy.