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Diabetes Technol Ther. 2000 Spring;2(1):69-80.

Insulin-like growth factor-I in diabetes mellitus: its physiology, metabolic effects, and potential clinical utility.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, USA.


Type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease of insulin deficiency, resulting from the autoimmune-mediated destruction of pancreatic beta cells. However, as a likely consequence of intraportal insulin deficiency, patients with type 1 DM also exhibit abnormalities of the growth hormone (GH)/IGF/IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) axis, including GH hypersecretion, reduced circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGFBP-3, and elevated levels of IGFBP-1. These abnormalities not only exacerbate hyperglycemia in patients with type 1 DM, but may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes-specific complications, including diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy. Therefore, therapeutic modalities aimed at restoring the GH-IGF-IGFBP axis are being considered. Herein, we review the efficacy of one such therapy, specifically IGF-I replacement therapy. To date, short-term beneficial metabolic effects of recombinant human IGF (rhIGF)-I therapy have been demonstrated in numerous diabetic conditions, including type 1 DM, type 2 DM, and type A insulin resistance. However, the long- term safety and metabolic efficacy of rhIGF-I therapy remains to be established. Moreover, the potential impact of rhIGF-I on the natural history of diabetic complications has yet to be explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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