Factors Affecting Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I Concentration in Bovine Milk

Robert J. Collier, M. A. Miller, J. R. Hildebrandt, A. R. Torkelson, T. C. White, K. S. Madsen, J. L. Vicini, P. J. Eppard, G. M. Lanza

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To establish the naturally occurring range of insulin-like growth factor-I concentrations in bovine milk, samples from individual cows (n = 409) managed on five Missouri dairy herds were assayed. Parity, stage of lactation, and farm affected milk insulin-like growth factor-I concentration. Milk insulin-like growth factor-I concentration was higher in early lactation than mid and late lactation with concentrations in multiparous cows exceeding those in primiparous cows. Insulin-like growth factor-I concentration was negatively correlated to milk production the day of sample collection (r = –.15) and not correlated to predicted 305-d milk yields. Unprocessed bulk tank milk samples (n = 100) from a commercial processing plant had a mean concentration of insulin-like growth factor-I in milk of 4.32 ng/ml with a range of 1.27 to 8.10 ng/ml. This distribution was similar to the range detected in samples from individual cows, but values were lower than those reported for human milk. Concentration of insulin-like growth factor-I in milk was not altered by pasteurization (at 79°C for 45 s). However, insulin-like growth factor-I was undetectable in milk heated to temperatures (121°C for 5 min) required for infant formula preparation or in commercially available infant formula. These data indicated that insulin-like growth factor-I is a normal but quantitatively variable component of bovine milk that is not destroyed by pasteurization but is undetectable in infant formula. Concentration of insulin-like growth factor-I in bovine milk is lower than concentrations reported for human milk yet similar to those reported for human saliva. Farm, stage of lactation, and parity all have large effects on variability of insulin-like growth factor-I concentration of bovine milk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2905-2911
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1991


  • IGF-I
  • RIA
  • insulin-like growth factor-I
  • insulin-like growth factor-I
  • milk
  • parity
  • radioimmunoassay
  • stage of lactation


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