The involvement of insulin, the insulin-like growth factors (IGF1, IGF2) and their receptors in central nervous system development and function has been the focus of scientific interest for more than 30 years. The insulin-like peptides, both locally-produced proteins as well as those transported from the circulation into the brain via the blood-brain barrier, are involved in a myriad of biological activities. These actions include, among others, neuronal survival, neurogenes, angiogenesis, excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission, regulation of food intake, and cognition. In recent years, a linkage between brain insulin/IGF1 and certain neuropathologies has been identified. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a correlation between diabetes (mainly type 2) and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, an aberrant decline in IGF1 values was suggested to play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. The present review focuses on the expression and function of insulin, IGFs and their receptors in the brain in physiological and pathological conditions.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Insulin receptors
- Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)