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Muscle Nerve. 2001 May;24(5):622-9.

Insulin treatment enhances expression of IGF-I in sural nerves of diabetic patients.

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Department of Neurological and Vision Sciences, University of Genoa, Via de Toni 5, 16132, Genoa, Italy.


We studied the expression of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and its receptor in sural nerves from 8 diabetic patients divided into insulin-treated (IT) and non-insulin-treated (NIT) groups, compared with 5 patients with axonal neuropathies and 4 control patients (undergoing biopsies for diagnostic purposes). Insulin-like growth factor I mRNA levels did not differ in diabetic cases compared with control subjects. In sural nerves from IT patients and axonal neuropathies, IGF-I expression was higher than in NIT subjects and diagnostic controls. Changes in IGF-I receptor mRNA levels paralleled those of the ligand. Insulin-like growth factor I immunoreactivity was higher in nerves undergoing axonal degeneration and higher in IT than NIT diabetic patients and diagnostic controls. These findings suggest that insulin treatment increases IGF-I expression in diabetic nerves. Our data do not support the hypothesis of an absolute IGF-I deficiency in human diabetic neuropathy. A Schwann cell's incapacity to increase IGF-I expression after severe nerve damage, as happens in axonal neuropathies, may be a cofactor in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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