Insulin-like growth factor I and impaired glucose tolerance

David Dunger, Kevin Yuen, Ken Ong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The effects of circulating insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) on glucose metabolism are well recognized. IGF-I is also important in maintaining β-cell mass and regulating endogenous growth hormone (GH) levels. Low IGF-I levels could explain links between small birth size and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus in short, obese adults. In a recent prospective study, childhood insulin secretion was related to IGF-I levels and statural growth, whereas insulin sensitivity was related to early post-natal weight gain. Common genetic polymorphisms in the IGF1 gene have been linked to small birth size, post-natal growth and future diabetes risk, but these results have been inconsistent. Recent adult studies have demonstrated that lower baseline IGF-I levels predict the subsequent development of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Administration of low-dose GH therapy, at a dose that minimizes the lipolytic effects of GH and has the ability to increase IGF-I levels, enhances insulin sensitivity in young healthy adults and in GH-deficient adults and increases insulin secretion in individuals with IGT. Whether the administration of low-dose GH, recombinant IGF-I or combined IGF-I/IGF-binding protein 3 therapy prevents future development of IGT or type 2 diabetes in high-risk normoglycaemic and GH-deficient individuals merits further long-term studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalHormone Research
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2004


  • Adults
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Insulin-like growth factor I
  • Insulin-like growth factor binding proteins
  • Size at birth
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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