Insulin-like growth factor-I prevents development of a vincristine neuropathy in mice

Brain Res. 1997 Nov 7;774(1-2):20-6. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(97)81682-4.


Vincristine is a commonly used antitumor agent whose major dose-limiting side-effect is a mixed sensorimotor neuropathy. To assess whether insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a neurotrophic agent that supports the survival of motoneurons and enhances regeneration of motor and sensory neurons, could prevent the peripheral neuropathy produced by vincristine, mice were treated with both vincristine (1.7 mg/kg, i.p., 2 x /week) and/or IGF-I (0.3 or 1 mg/kg, s.c. daily) for 10 weeks. In mice treated with vincristine alone, there was evidence of a mixed sensorimotor neuropathy as indicated by changes in behavior, nerve conduction and histology. Caudal nerve conduction velocity was significantly slower in mice treated with vincristine alone as compared with vehicle-treated mice. Vincristine treatment alone also significantly increased hot-plate latencies and reduced gait support and stride length, but not toe spread distances. The effects of vincristine were accompanied by degeneration of sciatic nerve fibers and demyelination, indicating a peripheral neuropathy. IGF-I (1 mg/kg, s.c.) administered to vincristine-treated mice prevented the neurotoxic effects of vincristine as measured by nerve conduction, gait, response to noxious stimuli and nerve histology. At a lower dose of 0.3 mg/kg administered s.c., IGF-I partially ameliorated the neuropathy induced by vincristine as this dose only prevented the change in nerve conduction and hot-plate latencies. IGF-I administered alone had no effect on any of these parameters. These results suggest that IGF-I prevents both motor and sensory components of vincristine neuropathy and may be useful clinically in preventing the neuropathy induced by vincristine treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gait / drug effects
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Movement / drug effects
  • Movement / physiology
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Sensation / drug effects
  • Sensation / physiology
  • Vincristine*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Vincristine
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I