The insulin-like growth factor system and its pleiotropic functions in brain

Endocr Rev. 2005 Dec;26(7):916-43. doi: 10.1210/er.2004-0024. Epub 2005 Aug 30.


In recent years, much interest has been devoted to defining the role of the IGF system in the nervous system. The ubiquitous IGFs, their cell membrane receptors, and their carrier binding proteins, the IGFBPs, are expressed early in the development of the nervous system and are therefore considered to play a key role in these processes. In vitro studies have demonstrated that the IGF system promotes differentiation and proliferation and sustains survival, preventing apoptosis of neuronal and brain derived cells. Furthermore, studies of transgenic mice overexpressing components of the IGF system or mice with disruptions of the same genes have clearly shown that the IGF system plays a key role in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / physiology*
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / physiology*


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1