IGF-I in Neuronal Differentiation and Neuroprotection

  • K. A. Sullivan
  • B. Kim
  • J. W. Russell
  • E. L. Feldman


Insulin-like growth factors I and II (IGF-I and IGF-II) are peptide growth factors structurally related to insulin [1, 2]. Both IGF-I and IGF-II exert mitogenic and metabolic effects and influence differentiation in many cell types [3-6]. IGF-I and IGF-II are polypeptides essential for normal fetal, neonatal and pubertal growth [1,2]. IGFs are present in a variety of tissues including muscle, lung, liver, kidney and brain during development and in the adult animal. Secreted IGFs may act as endocrine growth factors while locally synthesized peptides may serve autocrine/paracrine roles. Expression of IGFs is developmentally regulated in all species studied to date [7–15]. IGFs are abundant during fetal development [16–18], but there is a rapid decrease in IGF expression during the postnatal period [19, 20]. In the developing rat, IGFs are most abundant in neural crest derivatives, brain, choroid plexus, leptomeninges and spinal cord [16-18, 21]; similarly, in human embryogenesis, IGFs are present at high levels in fetal brain and spinal cord [21, 22]. IGFs share many important neurotrophic properties with nerve growth factor (NGF), the prototypic trophic factor [23,24]. IGFs have neurotrophic actions in sensory [25], sympathetic [25, 26] and motor neurons [25], and are presently the only known neurotrophic factors in nerve and muscle capable of supporting both sensory and motor nerve regeneration in adult animals [27–32].


Growth Cone Human Neuroblastoma Cell Total Cellular Pool 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. A. Sullivan
    • 1
  • B. Kim
    • 2
  • J. W. Russell
    • 2
  • E. L. Feldman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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