Local regulation of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) production in the human ovarian follicle was investigated using cultured human granulosa-luteal cells. Both insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) exerted a dual effect on granulosa cells: while estradiol (E2) production was increased by both stimulants, the addition of either of the two hormones led to a reduction in IGFBP-1 secretion by more than 50%. Inhibition of IGFBP-1 production in response to IGF-I was dose-dependent, with the highest effect observed at 5 nM IGF-I. A significant correlation was found between the increase in E2 and inhibition of IGFBP-1 secretion in response to IGF-I. These observations may suggest a novel mechanism, at the follicular level, by which FSH and IGF-I amplify the IGF-I effect in the ovarian follicular cells.