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Open Access Research article

Changes in cerebrospinal fluid and blood plasma levels of IGF-II and its binding proteins in Alzheimer’s disease: an observational study

Joakim Hertze12*, Katarina Nägga12, Lennart Minthon12 and Oskar Hansson12

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Memory Research Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden

2 Memory Clinic, Skåne University Hospital, Lund and Malmö, Sweden

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BMC Neurology 2014, 14:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-14-64

Published: 1 April 2014



The Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF)-related system is implicated in neuroregeneration and cell repair, as well as regulating lifespan. IGF-II, one component of this system, has also been found to affect memory functions in a rat model. In this study we explored changes in the IGF-related system in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), including changes in IGF-II levels.


We measured blood plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of IGF-I, IGF-II, IGFBP-2 and IGFBP-3 in 72 healthy controls and 92 patients with AD.


We found significantly lower blood plasma levels of IGF-II and IGFBP-3 in patients with AD, compared with controls. The levels of IGF-II and IGFBP-2 were significantly elevated in the CSF from patients with AD. We also found correlations between established CSF biomarkers for AD (tau and P-tau) and components of the IGF system.


CSF and blood plasma levels of IGF-II and some of its binding proteins are changed in patients with AD. Further investigation into this area may unravel important clues to the nature of this disease.

Alzheimer Disease; Dementia; Cerebrospinal fluid; Blood plasma; IGF-I; IGF-II; IGFBP-2; IGFBP-3; Insulin