Insulin-like growth factors in the peripheral nervous system.
IGF-I and -II are potent neuronal mitogens and survival factors. The actions of IGF-I and -II are mediated via the type I IGF receptor (IGF-IR) and IGF binding proteins regulate the bioavailability of the IGFs. Cell viability correlates with IGF-IR expression and intact IGF-I/IGF-IR signaling pathways, including activation of MAPK/phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. The expression of IGF-I and -II, IGF-IR, and IGF binding proteins are developmentally regulated in the central and peripheral nervous system. IGF-I therapy demonstrates mixed therapeutic results in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury, neuropathy, and motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this review we discuss the role of IGFs during peripheral nervous system development and the IGF signaling system as the potential therapeutic target for the treatment of nerve injury and motor neuron diseases.
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