A critical analysis of the role of growth hormone and IGF-1 in aging and lifespan

Trends Genet. 2002 Jun;18(6):295-301. doi: 10.1016/S0168-9525(02)02696-3.


Studies in Caenorhabditis elegans demonstrate that disruption of the daf-2 signaling pathways extends lifespan. Similarities among the daf-2 pathway, insulin-like signaling in flies and yeast, and the mammalian insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling cascade raise the possibility that modifications to IGF-1 signaling could also extend lifespan in mammals. In fact, growth hormone (GH)/IGF-1-deficient dwarf mice do live significantly longer than their wild-type counterparts. However, multiple endocrine deficiencies and developmental anomalies inherent in these models confound this interpretation. Here, we critique the current mammalian models of GH/IGF-1 deficiency and discuss the actions of GH/IGF-1 on biological aging and lifespan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Dwarfism / metabolism
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency
  • Growth Hormone / physiology*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / deficiency
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Rats
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Growth Hormone
  • DAF-2 protein, C elegans
  • Receptor, Insulin