Insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-1) is a neurotrophic factor and is the ligand for insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R). Reduced expression of IGF-1 has been reported to cause deafness, mental retardation, postnatal growth failure, and microcephaly. IGF-1R is expressed in the retina and photoreceptor neurons; however, its functional role is not known. Global IGF-1 KO mice have age-related vision loss. We determined that conditional deletion of IGF-1R in photoreceptors and pan-retinal cells produces age-related visual function loss and retinal degeneration. Retinal pigment epithelial cell-secreted IGF-1 may be a source for IGF-1R activation in the retina. Altered retinal, fatty acid, and phosphoinositide metabolism are observed in photoreceptor and retinal cells lacking IGF-1R. Our results suggest that the IGF-1R pathway is indispensable for photoreceptor survival, and activation of IGF-1R may be an essential element of photoreceptor and retinal neuroprotection.
© 2022. The Author(s).