Insulin receptor signaling in the development of neuronal structure and function

Neural Dev. 2010 Mar 15:5:7. doi: 10.1186/1749-8104-5-7.


Sensory experience plays a crucial role in regulating neuronal shape and in developing synaptic contacts during brain formation. These features are required for a neuron to receive, integrate, and transmit signals within the neuronal network so that animals can adapt to the constant changing environment. Insulin receptor signaling, which has been extensively studied in peripheral organ systems such as liver, muscle and adipocyte, has recently been shown to play important roles in the central nervous system. Here we review the current understanding of the underlying mechanisms that regulate structural and functional aspects of circuit development, particularly with respect to the role of insulin receptor signaling in synaptic function and the development of dendritic arbor morphology. The potential link between insulin receptor signaling malfunction and neurological disorders will also be discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Receptor, Insulin / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Receptor, Insulin