Novel Role of the IGF-1 Receptor in Endothelial Function and Repair

Studies in Endothelium-Targeted IGF-1 Receptor Transgenic Mice

  1. Mark T. Kearney1
  1. 1Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research, Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K.
  2. 2Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University, New York, New York
  3. 3University of Oxford British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence, Oxford, U.K.
  1. Corresponding author: Mark T. Kearney, m.t.kearney{at}


We recently demonstrated that reducing IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) numbers in the endothelium enhances nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and endothelial cell insulin sensitivity. In the present report, we aimed to examine the effect of increasing IGF-1R on endothelial cell function and repair. To examine the effect of increasing IGF-1R in the endothelium, we generated mice overexpressing human IGF-1R in the endothelium (human IGF-1R endothelium-overexpressing mice [hIGFREO]) under direction of the Tie2 promoter enhancer. hIGFREO aorta had reduced basal NO bioavailability (percent constriction to NG-monomethyl-l-arginine [mean (SEM) wild type 106% (30%); hIGFREO 48% (10%)]; P < 0.05). Endothelial cells from hIGFREO had reduced insulin-stimulated endothelial NO synthase activation (mean [SEM] wild type 170% [25%], hIGFREO 58% [3%]; P = 0.04) and insulin-stimulated NO release (mean [SEM] wild type 4,500 AU [1,000], hIGFREO 1,500 AU [700]; P < 0.05). hIGFREO mice had enhanced endothelium regeneration after denuding arterial injury (mean [SEM] percent recovered area, wild type 57% [2%], hIGFREO 47% [5%]; P < 0.05) and enhanced endothelial cell migration in vitro. The IGF-1R, although reducing NO bioavailability, enhances in situ endothelium regeneration. Manipulating IGF-1R in the endothelium may be a useful strategy to treat disorders of vascular growth and repair.


  • Received October 25, 2011.
  • Accepted April 18, 2012.

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