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Mol Path 54:311-316 doi:10.1136/mp.54.5.311

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): a growth hormone

  1. Z Laron
  1. Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Unit, WHO Collaborating Center for the Study of Diabetes in Youth, Schneider Children's Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, 14 Kaplan Street, Petah Tikva 49202, Tel Aviv, Israel
  1. Professor Laron laronz{at}clalit.org.il
  • Accepted 24 April 2001

Abstract

Aim—To contribute to the debate about whether growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) act independently on the growth process.

Methods—To describe growth in human and animal models of isolated IGF-1 deficiency (IGHD), such as in Laron syndrome (LS; primary IGF-1 deficiency and GH resistance) and IGF-1 gene or GH receptor gene knockout (KO) mice.

Results—Since the description of LS in 1966, 51 patients were followed, many since infancy. Newborns with LS are shorter (42–47 cm) than healthy babies (49–52 cm), suggesting that IGF-1 has some influence on intrauterine growth. Newborn mice with IGF-1 gene KO are 30% smaller. The postnatal growth rate of patients with LS is very slow, the distance from the lowest normal centile increasing progressively. If untreated, the final height is 100–136 cm for female and 109–138 cm for male patients. They have acromicia, organomicria including the brain, heart, gonads, genitalia, and retardation of skeletal maturation. The availability of biosynthetic IGF-1 since 1988 has enabled it to be administered to children with LS. It accelerated linear growth rates to 8–9 cm in the first year of treatment, compared with 10–12 cm/year during GH treatment of IGHD. The growth rate in following years was 5–6.5 cm/year.

Conclusion—IGF-1 is an important growth hormone, mediating the protein anabolic and linear growth promoting effect of pituitary GH. It has a GH independent growth stimulating effect, which with respect to cartilage cells is possibly optimised by the synergistic action with GH.

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