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Alzheimer's disease in men linked to low levels of hormone, IGF-1

New study indicates possible usefulness of IGF-1 in Alzheimer's disease treatment

Low serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) are associated with Alzheimer's Disease in men, but not women, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 are involved in longevity and could be beneficial to cognition, especially in Alzheimer's disease where experimental studies have shown that IGF-1 opposes the main pathological processes of Alzheimer's disease. The current study investigated the relationship between IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 serum levels and cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's disease.

"At this time, no curative treatment is available for Alzheimer's disease so focus on modifiable associated factors is of major importance," said Emmanuelle Duron, MD, PhD, of Broca Hospital in Paris, France and lead author of the study. "Our research shows a possible usefulness of IGF-1 in Alzheimer's disease treatment, especially in early stages."

In this multicentric cross-sectional study, researchers measured IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 serum levels in 694 elderly subjects (218 men and 476 women). Of the study participants, 481 had memory complaints and were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment. Duron and her colleagues found that IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 serum levels were significantly associated with cognitive status in men, but not in women.

"Our cross-sectional association does not mean a causal relationship," notes Duron. "Our results justify a longitudinal study to evaluate whether circulating IGF-1/IGFBP-3 are predictive of cognitive decline according to gender."

Other researchers working on the study include: Benoit Funalot, Nadege Brunel, Cecile Viollet, Jacques Epelbaum and Yves le Bouc of Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in Paris France; Joel Coste and Laurent Quinquis of Hotel Dieu in Paris, France; Joel Belmin of Charles Foix Hospital in Seine, France; Pierre Jouanny of Centre Hospitalo in Amiens, France; Florence Pasquier of Hopital Roger Salengro in Lille, France; Jean-Marc Treluyer of France Unite de Recherche Clinique in Paris, France; and Olivier Hanon of Broca Hospital in Paris, France.

The article, "Insulin-like Growth Factor-I and Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein-3 in Alzheimer's Disease," appears in the December 2012 issue of JCEM.

Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is the world's oldest, largest and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Today, The Endocrine Society's membership consists of over 15,000 scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in more than 100 countries. Society members represent all basic, applied and clinical interests in endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the Society and the field of endocrinology, visit our site at Follow us on Twitter at!/EndoMedia.

Aaron Lohr | EurekAlert!
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