Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), IGF receptors, and IGF-binding proteins: roles in skeletal muscle growth and differentiation

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2010 Jul 1;167(3):344-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 Apr 18.


The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling pathway consists of multiple IGF ligands, IGF receptors, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs). Studies in a variety of animal and cellular systems suggest that the IGF signaling pathway plays a key role in regulating skeletal muscle growth, differentiation, and in maintaining homeostasis of the adult muscle tissues. Intriguingly, IGFs stimulate both myoblast proliferation and differentiation, which are two mutually exclusive biological events during myogenesis. Both of these actions are mediated through the same IGF-1 receptor. Recent studies have shed new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying these paradoxical actions of IGFs in muscle cells. In this article, we provide a brief review of our current understanding of the IGF signaling system and discuss recent findings on how local oxygen availability and IGFBPs act to specify IGF actions in muscle cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle, Skeletal / growth & development*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / genetics
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Somatomedin / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Somatomedins / genetics
  • Somatomedins / metabolism
  • Somatomedins / physiology*


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