Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) plasma concentrations are increased in depressed patients

Michael Deuschle, Werner F. Blum, Christian J. Strasburger, Ulrich Schweiger, Bettina Weber, Andreas Körner, Harald Standhardt, Ulrike Gotthardt, Jürgen Schmider, Claus Dieter Pflaum, Isabella Heuser

65 Citations (Scopus)


There is some evidence that the somatotrophic system in depression, as assessed by basal growth hormone (GH) concentrations and by GH releasing hormone (GHRH) challenge, might be dysfunctional. However, the rather limited data have been inconclusive so far and plasma concentrations of both insulin- like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) and binding proteins (IGFBP 1 to IGF BP-6) have not been measured simultaneously in depressed patients. We studied 24 severely depressed patients and 33 healthy controls and estimated 24-hour mean plasma cortisol, six-hour evening mean plasma growth hormone (GH), morning plasma IGF-I, IGFBP 2 and 3 and GH-binding protein (GH-BP). Twenty- four-hour mean cortisol (306 ± 69 vs. 196 ± 30 nmol/1, p < .001) and IGF-I (157 ± 40 vs. 120 ± 33 μg/l, p < .01) plasma concentrations were found to be significantly increased in depressed patients, while there was no difference in GH or binding proteins between both groups. MANOVA analysis revealed age and diagnosis to have main effects upon plasma IGF-I. Especially young age and a diagnosis of major depression are associated with higher plasma IGF-I. After treatment only patients in remission had attenuated IGF- I plasma concentrations. We conclude that plasma IGF-I is increased in acutely depressed patients similar to other states of hypercortisolemia.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)493-503
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 10.1997

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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