CEBPβ regulation of endogenous IGF-1 in adult sensory neurons can be mobilized to overcome diabetes-induced deficits in bioenergetics and axonal outgrowth

Mohamad Reza Aghanoori, Prasoon Agarwal, Evan Gauvin, Raghu S. Nagalingam, Raiza Bonomo, Vinith Yathindranath, Darrell R. Smith, Yan Hai, Samantha Lee, Corinne G. Jolivalt, Nigel A. Calcutt, Meaghan J. Jones, Michael P. Czubryt, Donald W. Miller, Vernon W. Dolinsky, Virginie Mansuy-Aubert, Paul Fernyhough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Aberrant insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling has been proposed as a contributing factor to the development of neurodegenerative disorders including diabetic neuropathy, and delivery of exogenous IGF-1 has been explored as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, the role of autocrine/paracrine IGF-1 in neuroprotection has not been well established. We therefore used in vitro cell culture systems and animal models of diabetic neuropathy to characterize endogenous IGF-1 in sensory neurons and determine the factors regulating IGF-1 expression and/or affecting neuronal health. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq) and in situ hybridization analyses revealed high expression of endogenous IGF-1 in non-peptidergic neurons and satellite glial cells (SGCs) of dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Brain cortex and DRG had higher IGF-1 gene expression than sciatic nerve. Bidirectional transport of IGF-1 along sensory nerves was observed. Despite no difference in IGF-1 receptor levels, IGF-1 gene expression was significantly (P < 0.05) reduced in liver and DRG from streptozotocin (STZ)-induced type 1 diabetic rats, Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats, mice on a high-fat/ high-sugar diet and db/db type 2 diabetic mice. Hyperglycemia suppressed IGF-1 gene expression in cultured DRG neurons and this was reversed by exogenous IGF-1 or the aldose reductase inhibitor sorbinil. Transcription factors, such as NFAT1 and CEBPβ, were also less enriched at the IGF-1 promoter in DRG from diabetic rats vs control rats. CEBPβ overexpression promoted neurite outgrowth and mitochondrial respiration, both of which were blunted by knocking down or blocking IGF-1. Suppression of endogenous IGF-1 in diabetes may contribute to neuropathy and its upregulation at the transcriptional level by CEBPβ can be a promising therapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number193
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • IGF-1
  • Mitochondria
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neurotrophic factor
  • NFAT1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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