Circulating insulin-like growth factor I modulates mood and is a biomarker of vulnerability to stress: from mouse to man

A. Santi, M. Bot, A. Aleman, B. W.J.H. Penninx, I. Torres Aleman

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Individual susceptibility to anxiety disorders after maladaptive responses to stress is not well understood. We now report that while exploring stress responses in mice after traumatic brain injury (TBI), a condition associated to stress susceptibility, we observed that the anxiogenic effects of either TBI or exposure to life-threatening experiences (predator) were blocked when both stressors were combined. Because TBI increases the entrance into the brain of serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), a known modulator of anxiety with a wide range of concentrations in the human population, we then determined whether circulating IGF-I is related to anxiety measures. In mice, anxiety-like responses to predator were inversely related to circulating IGF-I levels. Other indicators of mood regulation such as sensitivity to dexamethasone suppression and expression levels of blood and brain FK506 binding protein 5 (FKBP5), a co-chaperone of the glucocorticoid receptor that regulates its activity, were also associated to circulating IGF-I. Indeed, brain FKBP5 expression in mice was stimulated by IGF-I. In addition, we observed in a large human cohort (n = 2686) a significant relationship between plasma IGF-I and exposure to recent stressful life events, while FKBP5 expression in blood cells was significantly associated to plasma IGF-I levels. Collectively, these data indicate that circulating IGF-I appears to be involved in mood homeostasis across different species. Furthermore, the data in mice allow us to indicate that IGF-I may be acting at least in part by modulating FKBP5 expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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