Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor mediates photoreceptor neuroprotection

Cell Death Dis. 2022 Jul 15;13(7):613. doi: 10.1038/s41419-022-05074-3.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I* / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neuroprotection / genetics
  • Neuroprotection / physiology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Vertebrate* / metabolism
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / metabolism
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Retinal Degeneration* / genetics
  • Retinal Degeneration* / metabolism


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1