Role of the insulin-like growth factor system in neurodegenerative disease

Moira S. Lewitt*, Gary W. Boyd

*Corresponding author for this work

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The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system has paracrine and endocrine roles in the central nervous system. There is evidence that IGF signalling pathways have roles in the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative disease. This review focusses on Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders that are increasing in prevalence globally in relation to the aging population and the increasing prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Rodent models used in the study of the molecular pathways involved in neurodegeneration are described. However, currently, no animal model fully replicates these diseases. Mice with triple mutations in APP, PSEN and MAPT show promise as models for the testing of novel Alzheimer’s therapies. While a causal relationship is not proven, the fact that age, obesity and T2D are risk factors in both strengthens the case for the involvement of the IGF system in these disorders. The IGF system is an attractive target for new approaches to management; however, there are gaps in our understanding that first need to be addressed. These include a focus beyond IGF-I on other members of the IGF system, including IGF-II, IGF-binding proteins and the type 2 IGF receptor.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4512
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2024


  • aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • diabetes mellitus
  • insulin-like growth factor
  • insulin resistance
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • obesity
  • Parkinson's disease


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