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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jun 29;101(26):9833-8. Epub 2004 Jun 21.

Insulin-like growth factor I is required for vessel remodeling in the adult brain.

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Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, Cajal Institute, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientifícas, 28002 Madrid, Spain.


Although vascular dysfunction is a major suspect in the etiology of several important neurodegenerative diseases, the signals involved in vessel homeostasis in the brain are still poorly understood. We have determined whether insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), a wide-spectrum growth factor with angiogenic actions, participates in vascular remodeling in the adult brain. IGF-I induces the growth of cultured brain endothelial cells through hypoxiainducible factor 1 alpha and vascular endothelial growth factor, a canonical angiogenic pathway. Furthermore, the systemic injection of IGF-I in adult mice increases brain vessel density. Physical exercise that stimulates widespread brain vessel growth in normal mice fails to do so in mice with low serum IGF-I. Brain injury that stimulates angiogenesis at the injury site also requires IGF-I to promote perilesion vessel growth, because blockade of IGF-I input by an anti-IGF-I abrogates vascular growth at the injury site. Thus, IGF-I participates in vessel remodeling in the adult brain. Low serum/brain IGF-I levels that are associated with old age and with several neurodegenerative diseases may be related to an increased risk of vascular dysfunction.

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