Insulin growth factor binding proteins as therapeutic targets in type 2 diabetes

Rikke Hjortebjerg, Allan Flyvbjerg, Jan Frystyk

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: The signaling pathways of the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) have been implicated in the aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and a number of therapeutic modalities aiming at the IGF-axis have been considered. Administration of IGF-I has been reported to improve insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects and patients with T2D. In recent years, the IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) have also been associated with metabolic disorders, prompting the idea that IGFBPs play important roles in the pathogenesis of T2D. Thus, by virtue of their role in the regulation of IGF effects, the IGFBPs have emerged as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in metabolic syndromes and T2D.

AREAS COVERED: The article provides an overview on recent findings in clinical and experimental IGFBP-research and addresses the studies that have investigated the potentials of the IGFBPs as therapeutic targets in T2D.

EXPERT OPINION: There is plenty of therapeutic promise within the IGF system, but further understanding of the IGFs in T2D is necessary to avoid off-target effects. Strong evidence supports the use of IGFBPs as therapeutic targets in the treatment of T2D, and it is not difficult to foresee the use of IGFBPs as part of a combination therapy alongside other anti-diabetic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExpert Opinion On Therapeutic Targets
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)209-224
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Diabetes
  • Glucose
  • IGF-I
  • IGF-IR
  • IGFBP-proteases
  • Insulin
  • Obesity
  • Therapeutic target


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