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J Neurosci Res. 1994 Oct 1;39(2):117-26.

The insulin-like growth factor I system in the rat cerebellum: developmental regulation and role in neuronal survival and differentiation.

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Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, Cajal Institute, CSIC, Madrid, Spain.


The developmental regulation of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), its receptor, and its binding proteins (IGFBPs) was studied in the rat cerebellum. All the components of the IGF-I system were detectable in the cerebellum at least by embryonic day 19. Levels of IGF-I receptor and its mRNA were highest at perinatal ages and steadily decrease thereafter, although a partial recovery in IGF-I receptor mRNA was found in adults. Levels of IGF-I and its mRNA also peaked at early ages, although immunoreactive IGF-I showed a second peak during adulthood. Finally, levels of IGFBPs were also highest at early postnatal ages and abruptly decreased thereafter to reach lower adult levels. Since highest levels of the different components of the IGF-I system were found at periods of active cellular growth and differentiation we also examined possible trophic effects of IGF-I on developing cerebellar cells in vitro. We found a dose-dependent effect of IGF-I on neuron survival together with a specific increase of the two main neurotransmitters used by cerebellar neurons, GABA and glutamate. Analysis of cerebellar cultures by combined in vitro autoradiography and immunocytochemistry with cell-specific markers indicated that both Purkinje cells (calbindin-positive) and other neurons (neurofilament-positive) contain IGF-I binding sites. These results extend previous observations on a developmental regulation of the IGF-I system in the cerebellum and reinforce the notion of a physiologically relevant trophic role of IGF-I in cerebellar development.

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