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N Engl J Med. 1983 Sep 1;309(9):527-30.

Insulin-like growth factors. Studies in diabetics with and without retinopathy.


To determine whether two insulin-like growth factors (IGF I and IGF II) influence the course of diabetic retinopathy, we measured the concentrations of these factors in 80 adult patients with diabetes and in 62 control subjects. In seven patients with Type I diabetes and rapidly deteriorating vision as a result of proliferative and exudative retinopathy, the serum concentration of IGF I was 722 +/- 41 ng per milliliter (mean +/- S.E.M.), as compared with 381 +/- 48 ng per milliliter in 26 patients who had Type I diabetes without retinopathy or with less severe forms of it, and 302 +/- 15 ng per milliliter in the controls (P less than 0.001 for both comparisons). Serum concentrations of IGF II were normal in subjects with Type I diabetes but were somewhat depressed in those with Type II disease. Whether elevated serum concentrations of IGF I cause the accelerated development of retinopathy in some patients remains to be determined. Such levels do appear to identify patients at high risk for rapid deterioration of vision, and hence may be useful in selecting patients for more intensive or alternative forms of therapy.

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