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Exp Gerontol. 2005 Nov;40(11):873-7. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

The insulin/IGF-1 signaling in mammals and its relevance to human longevity.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, and Pediatrics, Department of Medicine, Institute for Aging Research, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Belfer Bldg. #701, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, 10461 NY, USA.


Hormones, like insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), are thought to be deeply involved with longevity. Lower species have been the source for most of our current knowledge on the role of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling in modulating lifespan. This hormonal system may have originated from a very early common ancestor and is involved in many functions that are necessary for metabolism, growth, and fertility in animal models like flies, nematodes and mammalians. Disruption of the insulin/IGF-1 receptor in nematodes and flies increases lifespan significantly. With evolution, mammals developed two well characterized hormonal systems: insulin and growth hormone (GH)/IGF-1, with different metabolic and developmental functions. Abnormalities in the insulin signaling pathway generate age-related diseases and increased mortality, whereas the GH/IGF-1 axis could potentially modulate longevity in many species. In this review we briefly describe the lifespan regulatory role of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling of nematodes, flies and rodent models and compare it with the human equivalent.

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