Abstract. Six somatomedin-like peptides were purified from human plasma Cohn fraction IV by a six-step procedure which included ethanol precipitation, reversed-phase extraction, gel filtration, chromatofocusing and reversed-phase high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Purification was monitored with a competitive protein binding assay using a crude preparations of somatomedin carrier protein. The peptides isolated were homogeneous by reversed-phase HPLC and sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Their apparent isoelectric points determined by chromatofocusing were 9.2 (Sm I), (Sm II), 8.2 (Sm III), 6.7 (Sm IV), 6.3 (Sm V), and 6.15 (Sm VI). SDS-PAGE under reducing conditions revealed that they are composed of a single peptide chain with apparent molecular weights of 6800 for Sm I, II and IV and 6400 for Sm III, V, and VI. They were equally potent in the porcine costal cartilage in vitro bioassay. The basic peptides (Sm I–III) were significantly more active in radioimmunoassays for somatomedin C (SmC) and insulin-like growth factor I C-peptide (IGF-I (30–41)), while only the slightly acidic peptides were active in a radioimmunoassay for insulin-like growth factor II C-peptide (IGF-II (33–40)). When receptor binding was tested with human placental cell membranes and Sm III as tracer, the basic peptides were significantly more potent than Sm IV–VI. With rat liver cell membranes and Sm V as tracer the slightly acidic peptides were more potent.
These findings suggest 1) that human plasma may contain other somatomedin-like peptides besides the major components IGF-I/SmC and IGF-II, and 2) that the basic peptides are structurally related to IGF-I/SmC and the slightly acidic peptides are related to IGF-II.