The content of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in human milk, cow’s milk and cow’s-milk-based infnat formulas was determined by radioimmunoassay. The mean levels of IGF-I in full-term milk and preterm milk 0–4 days post partum 2.2 ± 0.3 and 2.4 ± 0.5 ng/mg protein, respectively. The IGF-I content in human milk was not affected by gestational age or birth weight and was constantly excreted up to 10 days post partum. The IGF-I content in human milk was significantly higher than that in cow’s milk (0.6 ± 0.1 ng/ mg protein, p < 0.01). IGF-I was not detected in the milk formulas. The IGF-I in human milk might be absorbed or could act locally in the intestine and may be of importance in the nutrition of neonates.

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