Recombinant human insulin-like growth factor I exerts a trophic action and confers glutamate sensitivity on glutamate-resistant cerebellar granule cells

Pietro Calissano, Maria Teresa Ciotti, Luca Battistini, Cristina Zona, Antonella Angelini, Daniela Merlo, Delio Mercanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cerebellar granule cells grown in the presence of a serum complex differentiate but are resistant to the lethal action of excitatory amino acids. When these cells are grown also in the presence of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) they become fully susceptible to the toxic, lethal action of glutamate. The glutamate-sensitizing action of IGF-I is dependent on concentration (half-maximal effect at 2-4 ng/ml) and time (half-maximal effect at 2-4 days in vitro) and is paralleled by the appearance of functionally active, glutamate-activated, Ca2+ channels and of voltage-gated Na+ and late K+ channels. IGF-I-induced glutamate sensitivity is rapidly reversible (t1/2 = 30-60 min) after removal of this somatomedin. The action of IGF-I is not mimicked by IGF-II, nerve growth factor, basic or acidic fibroblast growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, or tumor necrosis factor α. We postulate that the constitutive phenotype of cerebellar granule cells is glutamate-resistant and becomes responsive to excitatory amino acids under the action of epigenetic cues among which IGF-I may be one of those operative in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8752-8756
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics

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