Studies of IGF-1 in Tissue Generation

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Research

Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1) is a member of the insulin peptide family. It is also known as Somatomedin-C. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 contains 70 amino acids. These amino acids exist in two chains that connect via disulfide bridges. The liver is the primary source of IGF-1. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is responsible for the survival and proliferation of body tissues such as cartilage, bones, and muscles.

IGF-1 plays a pivotal role in the Growth Hormone (GH) axis. GH secretion is regulated by molecules such as GH secretagogues, including ghrelin. After its release, the GH acts on the liver and triggers the release of IGF-1.

It acts on the same cell via the autocrine pathway and the nearby cells via a paracrine mechanism. IGF-1 exerts an effect on almost all body cells. These include musculoskeletal, nervous, gastrointestinal, integumentary, urogenital, and hematological.


What Are The Research Implications of IGF-1?

Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 affects the body via a group of proteins called IGF Binding Proteins (IGFBP). These proteins help carry IGF to different body parts. Once Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 reaches the cells, it acts via pathways like mitogen-activated protein (MAP) and P13K phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K).

Below are some of the research implications of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1:


Potential Effects

IGF-1 may improve muscle strength and growth by two mechanisms.
The first is through a process called muscle hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is its ability to increase the bulk of individual muscle fibers. The muscles increase by the synthesis of skeletal muscle protein. Second, it also increases the number of skeletal muscle fibers by recruiting reserve skeletal muscle cells.

Research suggests several effects of IGF-1 on bones and cartilage.
It can help with bone growth and height due to its ability to improve the development of bone-generating cells. Studies show that IGF-1 enhances the growth of tibial bone. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 stimulates the bone and cartilage-forming cells. IGF-1 increases Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and can be a potential therapeutic option for osteoporosis.

The growth hormone (GH) and Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 axis are necessary for the optimum functioning of the cardiovascular system. This axis enhances the contractility of cardiac muscle fibers. This enhancement happens by improving the intracellular availability of calcium and increasing the expression of cardiac contractile proteins. Moreover, GH/IGF-1 axis decreases the resistance of blood vessels by increasing the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the blood vessels.

Insulin and IGF pathways are generally linked with longevity, protein hemostasis, and enhanced learning and memory skills. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 slows age-related conditions, one of which is brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s dementia results from the collection of abnormal proteins in the brain. IGF-1 may help prevent the development and slow the progression of this condition by avoiding the aggregation of abnormal proteins.

Research also suggests that IGF-1 can be helpful in conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Age-related neurological disorders result from heightened inflammation and oxidative stress.

Decreased level of IGF-1 is a constant finding in overweight individuals. IGF-1 can cause loss of fat by causing an increase in lean muscle mass. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 increases the sensitivity of body tissues to the available insulin, i.e., insulin sensitivity.

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