Sample Essay on Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1
Insulin-Like Growth Factors [IGFs] are the proteins which have high sequence likeness to insulin and its activities. The IGFs are part of a driven system that cells use to pass messages with their physiologic environment. The IGFs are from two ligands [substances that form a complex with protein to perform certain biological function] the insulin-like growth factor 1[IGF-1] and the insulin-like growth factor 2 [IGF-2]. Insulin-like growth factor 1[IGF-1] is also referred to as the somatomedin C a biomolecule that is encoded by the IGF-1 gene in humans.
Insulin-like growth factor 1is a hormone in the molecule structure similar to insulin and it is made up of 70 amino acids in a single sequence with three intramolecular disulfide bridges. Its molecular weight is of 7,649 Daltons. IGF-1 is produced by the liver as an endocrine hormone and as a large tissue in an autocrine way. Its production is also stimulated by the growth hormone [GH] and it can slowed by lack of growth hormone receptors, GH insensitivity, undernutrition and failure of the downstream signaling pathway post growth hormone receptor that include the SHP2 and STAT5B.
About 98% of the insulin-like growth factor 1is bound to one of 6 binding proteins [IGF-BP]. The IGFBP-3 is the most ample and necessary protein that accounts 80% of all the IGF binding. The mechanism of action of the insulin-like growth factor 1 is facilitated by binding to its specific receptor, the insulin-like growth factor 1receptor [IGF-1R] present in most of cell types in many tissues. Binding of the IGF-1R, a receptor tyrosine kinase helps initiate intracellular signaling. The IGF-1 is the most effective natural activators of the AKT signaling pathway, a stimulator of cell growth and production, and effective inhibitor of programmed cell death.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 is a core mediator of the effects of growth hormone, which is made up of the anterior pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is released to the blood stream and then helps stimulate the liver to produce the IGF-1. The Insulin-like growth factor 1 then helps stimulate the systemic body growth as it has growth-promoting effects on almost every cell in the body. These cells include the liver, kidney, skeletal muscle, cartilage, skin, nerves, lings and the hematopoietic cells.
IGF-1 helps regulate cell growth and development in nerve cells and in cellular DNA synthesis. An individual lacking the insulin-like growth factor 1or the growth hormone will have a diminished physique. That is why GH-deficient children are given the recombinant growth hormone to increase their body size. Humans lacking IGF-1 said to have the Laron syndrome or Laron dwarfism and are treated using the recombinant IGF-1. There are many other significances of the insulin-like growth factor 1and they include;
- Signaling through the IGF-1 or insulin receptor pathway is a great contributor to biological aging process of many living organism.
- The insulin-like growth factor 1 also helps in neuropathy. Here the therapeutic administration with neurotropic protein [IGF-1] is linked with potential reversal degeneration of the spinal cord motor neuron axons in certain peripheral neuropathies.
- The insulin-like growth factor pathway has a pathogenic role in cancer. Decreased amount of IGF causes decreased growth of the existing cancer cells. Fortunately, individuals with Laron syndrome have been depicted by many studies that they are at much less risk of developing cancer. Dietary modifications and interventions such as vegan diet also regulate IGF-1 activities and this helps lower risk of cancer.
- IGF-1 is also used by physicians as a screening test for growth hormone deficiency and excess in gigantism and in acromegaly.
There are different factors that are known to cause variation in the levels of the insulin-like growth factor 1 and growth hormone in circulation. These factors include genetic make-up, age, sex, stress levels, the time of the day, nutrition levels, exercise status, body mass index and estrogen status among others. Fasting can help reduce the IGF-1 levels rapidly.
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