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Neuron. 2010 Sep 9;67(5):834-46. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.08.007.

Neuronal activity drives localized blood-brain-barrier transport of serum insulin-like growth factor-I into the CNS.

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Cajal Institute, CSIC and CIBERNED, 28002 Madrid, Spain.


Upon entry into the central nervous system (CNS), serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) modulates neuronal growth, survival, and excitability. Yet mechanisms that trigger IGF-I entry across the blood-brain barrier remain unclear. We show that neuronal activity elicited by electrical, sensory, or behavioral stimulation increases IGF-I input in activated regions. Entrance of serum IGF-I is triggered by diffusible messengers (i.e., ATP, arachidonic acid derivatives) released during neurovascular coupling. These messengers stimulate matrix metalloproteinase-9, leading to cleavage of the IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3). Cleavage of IGFBP-3 allows the passage of serum IGF-I into the CNS through an interaction with the endothelial transporter lipoprotein related receptor 1. Activity-dependent entrance of serum IGF-I into the CNS may help to explain disparate observations such as proneurogenic effects of epilepsy, rehabilitatory effects of neural stimulation, and modulatory effects of blood flow on brain activity.

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