Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1): relation with cognitive functioning and neuroimaging marker of brain damage in a sample of hypertensive elderly subjects

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2009;49 Suppl 1:5-12. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.09.006.


IGF-1 decline has been related to age-dependent cognitive impairment and dementia. No study examined IGF-1 levels in subjects with a risk factor for brain damage such as hypertension. We investigated the relationship between IGF-1, cognitive functioning and neuroimaging in a sample of 75 hypertensive elderly subjects aged > 65. Cognitive performance were tested by mini mental state examination (MMSE), Cambridge cognitive examination (CAMDEX-R), and the frontal assessment battery (FAB). Among other indices, free IGF-1 in serum was assayed. The radial width of the temporal horn (rWTH) evaluates medial cerebral temporal lobe atrophy. Significant correlations between IGF-1 levels and both total and sub-domain scores of cognition were found. IGF-1 level was significantly lower in cognitively declined group. The lowest IGF-1 -percentile subgroup was significantly cognitively impaired. A statistically non-significant, but lower IGF-1 level was found in the sub-sample with pathologically wider rWTH. Levels of IGF-1 below 79.4 microg/l are associated with cognitive decline, whereas a level above 118 microg/l seems to be a marker of normal cognitive performance. A decreasing of IGF-1 related to a widening of the rWTH suggests an involvement of this hormone in hippocampus atrophy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / blood
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood*
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / diagnostic imaging
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Biomarkers
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I