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The detection of IGF-IR signaling in animal models has important implications for determining the role of this receptor in normal physiology and tumor growth. While many reports have correlated changes in plasma IGF-I levels in vivo with biological responses, few have shown that altered IGF-I levels can directly affect signaling within normal or tumor tissue. Here, we present new data that shows how the intravenous (IV) injection of IGF-I can be used to directly examine IGF signaling at the tissue level. Tail-vein IV injection of IGF-I into mice resulted in a rapid and dose-dependent activation of the IGF-I receptor and downstream phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2 in liver, kidney, and mammary gland. Similarly, IV IGF-I rapidly stimulated signaling in HT-29 colorectal and in MCF-7 breast cancer xenografts. This study shows how IVIGF injection can be used to examine the signaling mechanisms used by IGF-IR, in both normal mammary tissue and during tumor growth, and may provide a model for the characterization of IGF inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Hormone and Metabolic Research

Publication Date





651 - 655