Insulin-like growth factor-I prevents development of a vincristine neuropathy in mice

Patricia C. Contreras, Jeffry L. Vaught, John A. Gruner, Celia Brosnan, Cathy Steffler, Joseph C. Arezzo, Michael E. Lewis, John A. Kessler, Stuart C. Apfel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Vincristine is a commonly used antitumor agent whose major dose-limiting side-effect is a mixed sensorimotor neuropathy. To assess whether insulin- like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a neurotrophic agent that supports the survival of motoneurons and enhances regeneration of motor and sensory neurons, could prevent the peripheral neuropathy produced by vincristine, mice were treated with both vincristine (1.7 mg/kg, i.p., 2 X/week) and/or IGF-I (0.3 or 1 mg/kg, s.c. daily) for 10 weeks. In mice treated with vincristine alone, there was evidence of a mixed sensorimotor neuropathy as indicated by changes in behavior, nerve conduction and histology. Caudal nerve conduction velocity was significantly slower in mice treated with vincristine alone as compared with vehicle-treated mice. Vincristine treatment alone also significantly increased hot-plate latencies and reduced gait support and stride length, but not toe spread distances. The effects of vincristine were accompanied by degeneration of sciatic nerve fibers and demyelination, indicating a peripheral neuropathy. IGF-I (1 mg/kg, s.c.c.) administered to vincristine- treated mice prevented the neurotoxic effects of vincristine as measured by nerve conduction, gait, response to noxious stimuli and nerve histology. At a lower dose of 0.3 mg/kg administered s.c., IGF-I partially ameliorated the neuropathy induced by vincristine as this dose only prevented the change in nerve conduction and hot-plate latencies. IGF-I administered alone had no effect on any of these parameters. These results suggest that IGF-I prevents both motor and sensory components of vincristine neuropathy and may be useful clinically in preventing the neuropathy induced by vincristine treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalBrain research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 7 1997


  • Insulin-like growth factor-I
  • Neuropathy
  • Neurotrophic
  • Vincristine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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