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J Neurosci Res. 2003 Jul 1;73(1):1-9.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 is essential for normal dendritic growth.

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Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.


This study evaluated somatic and dendritic growth of neurons in the frontoparietal cortex of Igf1-/- brains. Pyramidal neuron density was increased by approximately 25% (P =.005) and soma size reduced by approximately 10% (P <.001). Golgi staining revealed that cortical layer II-III neurons exhibited a significant reduction in dendritic length and complexity in Igf1 null mice. Dendritic spine density and presumably synaptic contacts were reduced by 16% (P =.002). Similar findings were obtained for cortical layer V and piriform cortex pyramids. Supporting a reduction in synapses, synaptotagmin levels were reduced by 30% (P <.02) in the Igf1 null brain. Investigation of factors critically involved in dendritic growth and synaptogenesis showed an approximately 50% reduction in cortical CDC42 protein expression (P <.001) and an approximately 10% reduction in brain cholesterol levels (P <.01) in Igf1 null mice. Evidence is presented that Igf1 deletion causes disruptions in lipid and microtubule metabolism, leading to impaired neuronal somatic and dendritic growth. Published 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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