Cellular pattern of type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor gene expression during maturation of the rat brain: comparison with insulin-like growth factors I and II

Neuroscience. 1992;46(4):909-23. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(92)90193-6.


Insulin-like growth factors have a number of potent trophic effects on cultured neural tissue and most if not all of these effects appear to be mediated by the type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor. In order to establish the identity of cell types expressing this receptor in the rat central nervous system during development and maturity, we have used in situ hybridization to map sites of type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor mRNA synthesis in the developing and adult rat brain. In order to identify possible local sources of peptide ligands for this receptor, we have also mapped the sites of insulin-like growth factors I and II mRNA synthesis in parallel brain sections. From early development onward, there is a uniform and stable pattern of type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor gene expression in all neuroepithelial cell lineages, in which regional variations reflect primarily differences in cell density. In addition to this generalized pattern, during late postnatal development, high levels of type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor gene expression are found in specific sets of sensory and cerebellar projection neurons in conjunction with abundant insulin-like growth factor-I gene expression in these same neurons. While insulin-like growth factor-I expression is confined to the principal neurons in each system, receptor mRNA is also found in local interneurons. In the cerebral cortex and hippocampal formation, type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor mRNA and insulin-like growth factor-I are concentrated in different cell populations: receptor mRNA is abundant in pyramidal cells in Ammon's horn, in granule cells in the dentate gyrus, and in pyramidal cells in lamina VI of the cerebral cortex. Insulin-like growth factor-I mRNA is found in isolated medium- to large-sized cells which are rather irregularly distributed throughout the hippocampus and isocortex. In the hypothalamus, receptor mRNA is concentrated in the suprachiasmatic nucleus but is in low abundance elsewhere, including the median eminence, while insulin-like growth factor-I mRNA is not detected in this region at all. Type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor and insulin-like growth factor-II mRNAs are both abundant in choroid plexus, meninges and vascular sheaths from early development to maturity, but insulin-like growth factor-II mRNA is not detected in cells of neuroepithelial origin at any stage of development. This study provides evidence for two fundamentally different patterns of gene expression for the brain type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression
  • Gestational Age
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / genetics*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes


  • RNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II