Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1), a hypoxia-induced protein, is a member of the IGFBP family that regulates vertebrate growth and development. In this study, full-length IGFBP-1a cDNA was cloned from a hypoxia-sensitive Cyprinidae fish species, the blunt snout bream ( Megalobrama amblycephala
). IGFBP-1a was expressed in various organs of adult blunt snout bream, including strongly in the liver and weakly in the gonads. Under hypoxia, IGFBP-1a mRNA levels increased sharply in the skin, liver, kidney, spleen, intestine and heart tissues of juvenile blunt snout bream, but recovered to normal levels after 24-hour exposure to normal dissolved oxygen. In blunt snout bream embryos, IGFBP-1a mRNA was expressed at very low levels at both four and eight hours post-fertilization, and strongly at later stages. Embryonic growth and development rates decreased significantly in embryos injected with IGFBP-1a mRNA. The average body length of IGFBP-1a-
overexpressed embryos was 82.4% of that of the control group, and somite numbers decreased to 85.2%. These findings suggest that hypoxia-induced IGFBP-1a may inhibit growth in this species under hypoxic conditions.