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Neurobiol Aging. 2007 Apr;28(4):533-6. Epub 2006 Mar 29.

Serum TNF-alpha levels are increased and correlate negatively with free IGF-I in Alzheimer disease.

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  • 1EuroEspes Biomedical Research Center, 15166 A Coruña, Spain. <>


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) have been involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) as neurotoxic and survival factors, respectively. Recent experimental studies suggest that the signalling pathways of TNF-alpha and IGF-I are functionally interrelated. In order to investigate the possible interaction of TNF-alpha and IGF-I in AD and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), the serum levels of total IGF-I, free IGF-I and TNF-alpha were determined in 141 AD patients, 56 MCI cases and 30 controls. As compared with controls, AD patients showed increased TNF-alpha and decreased IGF-I levels in serum, as well as a significant negative correlation between TNF-alpha and free IGF-I values. MCI patients also exhibited significantly higher TNF-alpha levels than controls. The present results suggest that increased TNF-alpha levels are involved in the pathogenesis of AD and MCI, and might antagonize the neurotrophic activity of IGF-I in these medical conditions. In addition, the combined determination of TNF-alpha and IGF-I might be useful to monitor anti-inflammatory and/or neurotrophic drug effects in AD.

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