Gene therapy approaches delivering neurotrophic factors have offered promising results in both preclinical and clinical trials of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, failure of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor in phase 2 clinical trials has sparked a search for other trophic factors that may retain efficacy in the clinic. Direct protein injections of one such factor, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, in a rodent model of PD has demonstrated impressive protection of dopaminergic neurons against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) toxicity. However, protein infusion is associated with surgical risks, pump failure, and significant costs. We therefore used lentiviral vectors to deliver Igf-1, with a particular focus on the novel integration-deficient lentiviral vectors (IDLVs). A neuron-specific promoter, from the human synapsin 1 gene, excellent for gene expression from IDLVs, was additionally used to enhance Igf-1 expression. An investigation of neurotrophic effects on primary rat neuronal cultures demonstrated that neurons transduced with IDLV-Igf-1 vectors had complete protection on withdrawal of exogenous trophic support. Striatal transduction of such vectors into 6-OHDA-lesioned rats, however, provided neither protection of dopaminergic substantia nigra neurons nor improvement of animal behavior.