Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) as a novel condition of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) deficiency
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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is an anabolic hormone with several biological activities, such as proliferation, mitochondrial protection, cell survival, tissue growth and development, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifibrogenic and antiaging. This hormone plays an important role in embryological and postnatal states, being essential for normal foetal and placental growth and differentiation. During gestation, the placenta is one of the major sources of IGF-1, among other hormones. This intrauterine organ expresses IGF-1 receptors and IGF-1 binding proteins (IGFBPs), which control IGF-1 activities. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is the second most frequent cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality, defined as the inability to achieve the expected weight for gestational age. Different studies have revealed that IUGR infants have placental dysfunction and low circulating levels of insulin, IGF-1, IGF-2 and IGFBPs. Such data suggest that IGF-1 deficiency in gestational state may be one of the major causes of foetal growth retardation. The aim of this review is to study the epidemiology, physiopathology and possible causes of IUGR. Also, it intends to study the possible role of the placenta as an IGF-1 target organ. The purpose is to establish if IUGR could be considered as a novel condition of IGF-1 deficiency and if its treatment with low doses of IGF-1 could be a suitable therapeutic strategy.