Local insulin-like growth factor i expression is essential for Purkinje neuron survival at birth

L. Croci, V. Barili, D. Chia, L. Massimino, R. Van Vugt, G. Masserdotti, R. Longhi, P. Rotwein, G. G. Consalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


IGF1, an anabolic and neuroprotective factor, promotes neuronal survival by blocking apoptosis. It is released into the bloodstream by the liver, or synthesized locally by muscles and neural cells, acting in an autocrine or paracrine fashion. Intriguingly, genetic studies conducted in invertebrate and murine models also suggest that an excess of IGF1 signaling may trigger neurodegeneration. This emphasizes the importance of gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms controlling IGF1 regulation and gene transcription. In the cerebellum, Igf1 expression is activated just before birth in a subset of Purkinje cells (PCs). Mice carrying a null mutation for HLH transcription factor EBF2 feature PC apoptosis at birth. We show that Igf1 is sharply downregulated in Ebf2 null PCs starting before the onset of PC death. In vitro, EBF2 binds a conserved distal Igf1 promoter region. The pro-survival PI3K signaling pathway is strongly inhibited in mutant cerebella. Finally, Ebf2 null organotypic cultures respond to IGF1 treatment by inhibiting PC apoptosis. Consistently, wild type slices treated with an IGF1 competitor feature a sharp increase in PC death. Our findings reveal that IGF1 is required for PC survival in the neonatal cerebellum, and identify a new mechanism regulating its local production in the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-59
Number of pages12
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • EBF2
  • IGF1
  • Purkinje cells
  • apoptosis
  • ataxia
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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