IGF-1, or Insulin-like growth factor 1, is a hormone that gets its name due to its similarities with proinsulin. Made up of 70 amino acids, it is encoded by the IGF1 gene. This hormone is most commonly found to be produced by the liver in response to the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. It has also been found to be produced in other tissues for localized purposes. It plays a vital role in the growth stages of life, starting as a fetus all the way through puberty.
What Role Does IGF-1 Play?
IGF-1 has been shown to have an important role in a number of cellular functions including: cell growth, apoptosis (programed cell death), cell division, and the movement of glucose across the cell membrane. It however, has an interesting effect on adipose tissues, as it inhibits the growth of this type of tissue by restricting glucose transport. This has been shown to cause animal test subject to have an increase in fat burning cells.
Studies on animal test subjects have shown that IGF-1 plays a crucial role in the
devolving fetus and throughout its lifecycle. As a fetus it is used during the third trimester for development. It helps promote the growth of a number of cells including:
- Skeletal muscle
- Some organs
Throughout childhood IGF-1 aids in the growth of bones for height and the development of the cranium as it regulates both bone growth and density. Once puberty hits, it is responsible for the promotion of muscle development.
Research Potential of IGF-1
Due to the way IGF-1 functions in animal test subject, it has been used in the research of a number of different diseases though this peptide is not intended for human consumption and should only be used in a laboratory setting.
Some of these conditions include:
- Muscular dystrophy
- Heart disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rett syndrome
In the case of MS, it was shown that, in animal test subjects, progression of the disease was suppressed due to the increased levels of T-reg cell. Animal test subjects with Muscular Dystrophy had increased muscle retention and it was also found that the development of fibrosis was inhibited. This is due to IGF-1 having the ability to proliferate and cause cells in the muscle to fuse muscle fibers, allowing for the repair of damaged tissue. It was also found that IGF-1 can have a profound effect on prostate cancer in animal test subjects.
Types of Synthetic IGF-1
Due to the nature of IGF-1, scientists have created synthetic versions of this hormone/ peptide. One of these forms is called IGF-1 LR3, which has an additional 13 amino acids. This form of the peptide has a less efficient ability to bind to the IGF proteins due to its altered form, but has an increased potency, which allows for an increased half-life of 20-30 hours.
Another form of IGF-1 is IGF-1 DES, which is short the first three amino acids of IGF-1. With the missing amino acids, it makes it less effective at binding to the IGF protein, but makes it 10x more potent.
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