Recombinant human insulin-like growth factor-1: A new cardiovascular disease treatment option?

Elena Conti, M. B. Musumeci, Egidy Assenza, G. Quarta, C. Autore, M. Volpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) system is dynamic and complex, involving many binding proteins, binding-protein-related proteases, and receptors. It has emerged in time as a powerful defence to life processes of many cytotypes, tissues and systems. Mainly in body metabolism, diabetes and cardiovascular system, but also in brain and kidney, IGF-1 plays a key role in maintaining homeostasis, increasing progenitor cell potential, and improving physiologic performance both in rest and stress conditions. Its vasculoprotective and insulin sensitizing ability exerts a protective role on flow-metabolism coupling and organs function. Therapeutical human use of recombinant human IGF-1 (rhIGF-1) has been widely applied only in Laron syndrome, while being verified in many randomized controlled trials to improve glycemic control in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and proposed in neurological disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer disease. Sparse evidence exists moreover about rhIGF-1 use in insulin resistance, burns, catabolic and post-surgery states, acute and chronic renal failure, amyotrophic lateral and multiple sclerosis, brain injury, and immunoincompetence. Along with these data, results are available on cardiovascular benefit of administration of other growth factors, such as erythropoietin and vascular endothelial growth factor, or on cardiovascular side effects of growth factor antagonists such as trastuzumab in cancer therapy. We intended therefore to summarize in this review available human and animals evidence about rhIGF-1 effects on different systems with insights on rhIGF-1 cardiovascular effects. In view of its ability to improve flow-metabolism coupling, IGF-1 could indeed represent a new cardiovascular disease treatment option for many cardiac disorders such as ischemic heart disease and heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-271
Number of pages14
JournalCardiovascular and Hematological Agents in Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • Diabetes
  • Endothelium
  • Flow metabolism coupling
  • IGF-1
  • Insulin
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Outcome
  • RhIGF-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Hematology
  • Pharmacology

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