Reduced Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I Effects in the Basal Forebrain of Aging Mouse

Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 Sep 1;13:682388. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2021.682388. eCollection 2021.


It is known that aging is frequently accompanied by a decline in cognition. Furthermore, aging is associated with lower serum IGF-I levels that may contribute to this deterioration. We studied the effect of IGF-I in neurons of the horizontal diagonal band of Broca (HDB) of young (≤6 months old) and old (≥20-month-old) mice to determine if changes in the response of these neurons to IGF-I occur along with aging. Local injection of IGF-I in the HDB nucleus increased their neuronal activity and induced fast oscillatory activity in the electrocorticogram (ECoG). Furthermore, IGF-I facilitated tactile responses in the primary somatosensory cortex elicited by air-puffs delivered in the whiskers. These excitatory effects decreased in old mice. Immunohistochemistry showed that cholinergic HDB neurons express IGF-I receptors and that IGF-I injection increased the expression of c-fos in young, but not in old animals. IGF-I increased the activity of optogenetically-identified cholinergic neurons in young animals, suggesting that most of the IGF-I-induced excitatory effects were mediated by activation of these neurons. Effects of aging were partially ameliorated by chronic IGF-I treatment in old mice. The present findings suggest that reduced IGF-I activity in old animals participates in age-associated changes in cortical activity.

Keywords: IGF-I; aging; cholinergic neurons; cortical activity; diagonal band of Broca.