Insulin-like growth factor signaling in fish

Int Rev Cytol. 2005;243:215-85. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7696(05)43004-1.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system plays a central role in the neuroendocrine regulation of growth in all vertebrates. Evidence from studies in a variety of vertebrate species suggest that this growth factor complex, composed of ligands, receptors, and high-affinity binding proteins, evolved early during vertebrate evolution. Among nonmammalian vertebrates, IGF signaling has been studied most extensively in fish, particularly teleosts of commercial importance. The unique life history characteristics associated with their primarily aquatic existence has fortuitously led to the identification of novel functions of the IGF system that are not evident from studies in mammals and other tetrapod vertebrates. Furthermore, the emergence of the zebrafish as a preferred model for development genetics has spawned progress in determining the requirements for IGF signaling during vertebrate embryonic development. This review is intended as a summary of our understanding of IGF signaling, as revealed through research into the expression, function, and evolution of IGF ligands, receptors, and binding proteins in fish.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Somatomedins / genetics
  • Somatomedins / physiology*
  • Zebrafish / physiology


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Somatomedin
  • Somatomedins