Insulin-Like Growth Factor I Shown to Help Aging Rats

Therapy associated with improvements in lipids, blood glucose, insulin resistance and oxidative damage

TUESDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- Treating aging male rats with low doses of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) is associated with increased testosterone levels, improved glucose and lipid metabolism, and reduced oxidative damage in the brain and liver, according to a report published in the May issue of Endocrinology.

Maria Garcia-Fernandez, of the University of Malaga in Malaga, Spain, and colleagues analyzed data from experiments involving 17-week-old healthy control Wistar rats, untreated 103-week-old rats, and 103-week-old rats treated with IGF-I for a month.

Compared with young controls, untreated old rats had lower testosterone and total antioxidant status, and higher blood glucose, hyperinsulinemia, and increased cholesterol and triglycerides, the researchers found. Treatment with IGF-I was associated with lowered insulin resistance, cholesterol and triglyceride levels and oxidative damage, and improved antioxidant enzymes, they report.

"Results in this paper are in agreement with a significant amount of evidence, accumulated during the last decade, indicating that IGF-I might play a role in several pathological conditions commonly seen during aging, such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases, the so-called metabolic syndrome, neuronal aging, symptoms of neurodegeneration, cognitive decline, dementia, sarcopenia and frailty. Low IGF-I circulating levels have been associated with unfavorable cardiovascular disease risk factor profiles such as atherosclerosis, abnormal lipoprotein levels and hypertension, while in prospective studies, lower IGF-I levels predict future development of ischemic heart disease," the authors write.

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