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Aging and Disease    2010, Vol. 1 Issue (2) : 147-157     DOI:
Insulin, IGF-1 and longevity
Diana van Heemst1, *
1Department of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Leiden University Medical Center, PO Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, the Netherlands
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It has been demonstrated in invertebrate species that the evolutionarily conserved insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling (IIS) pathway plays a major role in the control of longevity. In the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, single mutations that diminish insulin/IGF-1 signaling can increase lifespan more than twofold and cause the animal to remain active and youthful much longer than normal. Likewise, substantial increases in lifespan are associated with mutations that reduce insulin/IGF-1 signaling in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In invertebrates, multiple insulin-like ligands exist that bind to a common single insulin/IGF-1 like receptor. In contrast, in mammals, different receptors exist that bind insulin, IGF-1 and IGF-2 with different affinities. In several mouse models, mutations that are associated with decreased GH/IGF-1 signaling or decreased insulin signaling have been associated with enhanced lifespan. However, the increased complexity of the mammalian insulin/IGF-1 system has made it difficult to separate the roles of insulin, GH and IGF-1 in mammalian longevity. Likewise, the relevance of reduced insulin and IGF-1 signaling in human longevity remains controversial. However, studies on the genetic and metabolic characteristics that are associated with healthy longevity and old age survival suggest that the conserved ancient IIS pathway may also play a role in human longevity.

Keywords Insulin      IGF-1      longevity      signaling     
Corresponding Authors: Diana van Heemst   
Issue Date: 01 February 2010
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Diana van Heemst. Insulin, IGF-1 and longevity[J]. Aging and Disease, 2010, 1(2): 147-157.
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