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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Jun;67(6):626-39. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls102. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Aging, atherosclerosis, and IGF-1.

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Tulane University Heart & Vascular Institute, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is an endocrine and autocrine/paracrine growth factor that circulates at high levels in the plasma and is expressed in most cell types. IGF-1 has major effects on development, cell growth and differentiation, and tissue repair. Recent evidence indicates that IGF-1 reduces atherosclerosis burden and improves features of atherosclerotic plaque stability in animal models. Potential mechanisms for this atheroprotective effect include IGF-1-induced reduction in oxidative stress, cell apoptosis, proinflammatory signaling, and endothelial dysfunction. Aging is associated with increased vascular oxidative stress and vascular disease, suggesting that IGF-1 may exert salutary effects on vascular aging processes. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive update on IGF-1's ability to modulate vascular oxidative stress and to limit atherogenesis and the vascular complications of aging.

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