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1.  Blunting type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor expression exacerbates neuronal apoptosis following hypoxic/ischemic injury 
BMC Neuroscience  2011;12:64.
Abundant experimental data have implicated an important role for insulin-like growth factor (IGF) in protecting neuronal cells from injury, including hypoxia/ischemia (H/I) injury, a major cause of neuron death. While the specific interaction of IGFs with neuronal or glial type 1 IGF receptors (IGF1R) has been shown to be essential to IGF actions during development, the same has not been directly demonstrated following H/I injury. To directly examine the role of neuronal IGF1R following H/I injury, we utilized conditional mutant nes-igf1r-/Wt mice and determined the impact of IGF1R haplodeficiency specifically in nestin-expressing neuronal precursors and their progeny on H/I-induced neuronal damage and apoptosis in hippocampus.
H/I induced significant damage to the cerebral hemisphere and hippocampus ipsilateral to the ligated right common carotid artery both in control and nes-igf1r-/Wt mice at postnatal day 10. Blunting IGF1R expression, however, markedly exacerbated H/I-induced damage and appeared to increase mortality. In the ipsilateral hemisphere and hippocampus, nes-igf1r-/Wt mice had infarct areas double the size of those in controls. The size of the ipsilateral hemisphere and hippocampus in nes-igf1r-/Wt mice were 15% to 17% larger than those in controls, reflecting more severe edema. Consistent with its effects on infarct area, IGF1R haplodeficiency causes a greater decrease in neurons in the ipsilateral hippocampus of nes-igf1r-/Wt mice. The reduction in neurons was largely due to increases in neuronal apoptosis. Judged by pyknotic nuclei, TUNEL and caspase-3 labeling, nes-igf1r-/Wt mice had significantly more apoptotic cells than that in controls after injury. To determine possible mechanisms of IGF1R actions, the mRNA expression of the pro-survival proteins IAP-1 and XIAP was determined. Compared to controls, the abundance of cIAP-1 and XIAP mRNA was markedly suppressed in mice with blunted IGF1R or IGF-I expression, while was increased in the brain of IGF-I overexpressing transgenic mice.
IGF1R in neuronal cells is critically important for their survival following H/I injury, and IGF-upregulated expression of neuronal cIAP-1 and XIAP likely in part contributes to IGF-IGF1R protection against neuronal apoptosis following H/I injury.
PMCID: PMC3146424  PMID: 21718528
2.  Developmental and oncogenic effects of Insulin-like Growth Factor-I in Ptc1+/- mouse cerebellum 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:53.
Medulloblastoma is amongst the most common malignant brain tumors in childhood, arising from neoplastic transformation of granule neuron precursors (GNPs) of the cerebellum via deregulation of pathways involved in cerebellar development. Deregulation of the Sonic hedgehog/Patched1 (Shh/Ptc1) signaling pathway predisposes humans and mice to medulloblastoma. In the brain, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) plays a critical role during development as a neurotrophic and neuroprotective factor, and in tumorigenesis, as IGF-I receptor is often activated in medulloblastomas.
To investigate the mechanisms of genetic interactions between Shh and IGF signaling in the cerebellum, we crossed nestin/IGF-I transgenic (IGF-I Tg) mice, in which transgene expression occurs in neuron precursors, with Ptc1+/- knockout mice, a model of medulloblastoma in which cancer develops in a multistage process. The IGF-I transgene produced a marked brain overgrowth, and significantly accelerated tumor development, increasing the frequency of pre-neoplastic lesions as well as full medulloblastomas in Ptc1+/-/IGF-I Tg mice. Mechanistically, tumor promotion by IGF-I mainly affected preneoplastic stages through de novo formation of lesions, while not influencing progression rate to full tumors. We also identified a marked increase in survival and proliferation, and a strong suppression of differentiation in neural precursors.
As a whole, our findings indicate that IGF-I overexpression in neural precursors leads to brain overgrowth and fosters external granular layer (EGL) proliferative lesions through a mechanism favoring proliferation over terminal differentiation, acting as a landscape for tumor growth. Understanding the molecular events responsible for cerebellum development and their alterations in tumorigenesis is critical for the identification of potential therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2846887  PMID: 20214787
Glia  2010;58(9):1031-1041.
By promoting cell proliferation, survival and maturation insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I is essential to the normal growth and development of the central nervous system. It is clear that IGF-I actions are primarily mediated by the type I IGF receptor (IGF1R), and that phosphoinositide 3 (PI3)-Akt kinases and MAP kinases signal many of IGF-I-IGF1R actions in neural cells, including oligodendrocyte lineage cells. The precise downstream targets of these signaling pathways, however, remain to be defined. We studied oligodendroglial cells to determine whether β-catenin, a molecule that is a downstream target of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β) and plays a key role in the Wnt canonical signaling pathway, mediates IGF-I actions. We found that IGF-I increases β-catenin protein abundance within an hour after IGF-I-induced phosphorylation of Akt and GSK3β. Inhibiting the PI3-Akt pathway suppressed IGF-I-induced increases in β-catenin and cyclin D1 mRNA, while suppression of GSK3β activity simulated IGF-I actions. Knocking-down β-catenin mRNA by RNA interference suppressed IGF-I-stimulated increases in the abundance of cyclin D1 mRNA, cell proliferation, and cell survival. Our data suggest that β-catenin is an important downstream molecule in the PI3-Akt-GSK3β pathway, and as such it mediates IGF-I upregulation of cyclin D1 mRNA and promotion of cell proliferation and survival in oligodendroglial cells.
PMCID: PMC2917840  PMID: 20235220
IGF-I; β-catenin; GSK3β; oligodendrocytes; signaling transduction
4.  Thyroid Hormone-Mediated Growth and Differentiation of Growth Plate Chondrocytes Involves IGF-1 Modulation of β-Catenin Signaling 
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research  2009;25(5):1138-1146.
Thyroid hormone regulates terminal differentiation of growth plate chondrocytes in part through modulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) has been described as a stabilizer of β-catenin, and thyroid hormone is a known stimulator of IGF-1 receptor expression. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that IGF-1 signaling is involved in the interaction between the thyroid hormone and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in regulating growth plate chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. The results show that IGF-1 and the IGF- receptor (IGF1R) stimulate Wnt-4 expression and β-catenin activation in growth plate chondrocytes. The positive effects of IGF-1/IGF1R on chondrocyte proliferation and terminal differentiation are partially inhibited by the Wnt antagonists sFRP3 and Dkk1. T3 activates IGF-1/IGF1R signaling and IGF-1-dependent PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β signaling in growth plate chondrocytes undergoing proliferation and differentiation to prehypertrophy. T3-mediated Wnt-4 expression, β-catenin activation, cell proliferation, and terminal differentiation of growth plate chondrocytes are partially prevented by the IGF1R inhibitor picropodophyllin as well as by the PI3K/Akt signaling inhibitors LY294002 and Akti1/2. These data indicate that the interactions between thyroid hormone and β-catenin signaling in regulating growth plate chondrocyte proliferation and terminal differentiation are modulated by IGF-1/IGF1R signaling through both the Wnt and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. While chondrocyte proliferation may be triggered by the IGF-1/IGF1R-mediated PI3K/Akt/GSK3β pathway, cell hypertrophy is likely due to activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which is at least in part initiated by IGF-1 signaling or the IGF-1-activated PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
PMCID: PMC3123724  PMID: 20200966
thyroid hormone; insulin-like growth factor 1; β-catenin; growth plate chondrocytes
5.  Thyroid hormone-mediated growth and differentiation of growth plate chondrocytes involves IGF-1 modulation of β-catenin signaling 
Thyroid hormone regulates terminal differentiation of growth plate chondrocytes in part through modulation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. IGF-1 has been described as a stabilizer of β-catenin, and thyroid hormone is a known stimulator of IGF-1 receptor expression. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that IGF-1 signaling is involved in the interaction between the thyroid hormone and the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in regulating growth plate chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation.
The results show that IGF-1 and IGF1R stimulate Wnt-4 expression and β-catenin activation in growth plate chondrocytes. The positive effects of IGF-1/IGF1R on chondrocyte proliferation and terminal differentiation are partially inhibited by the Wnt antagonists sFRP3 and Dkk1. T3 activates IGF-1/IGF1R signaling and IGF-1-dependent PI3K/Akt/GSK3β signaling in growth plate chondrocytes undergoing proliferation and differentiation to prehypertrophy. T3-mediated Wnt-4 expression, β-catenin activation, cell proliferation and terminal differentiation of growth plate chondrocytes are partially prevented by the IGF1R inhibitor picropodophyllin as well as the PI3K/Akt signaling inhibitors LY294002 and Akti1/2.
These data indicate that the interactions between thyroid hormone and β-catenin signaling in regulating growth plate chondrocyte proliferation and terminal differentiation are modulated by IGF-1/IGF1R signaling through both the Wnt and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways. While chondrocyte proliferation may be triggered by the IGF-1/IGF1R mediated PI3K/Akt/GSK3β pathway, cell hypertrophy is likely due to activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, which is at least in part initiated by IGF-1 signaling or the IGF-1-activated PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3123724  PMID: 20200966
thyroid hormone; insulin-like growth factor-1; β-catenin; growth plate chondrocytes
6.  Transcriptome Analysis in Prenatal IGF1-Deficient Mice Identifies Molecular Pathways and Target Genes Involved in Distal Lung Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e83028.
Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1) is a multifunctional regulator of somatic growth and development throughout evolution. IGF1 signaling through IGF type 1 receptor (IGF1R) controls cell proliferation, survival and differentiation in multiple cell types. IGF1 deficiency in mice disrupts lung morphogenesis, causing altered prenatal pulmonary alveologenesis. Nevertheless, little is known about the cellular and molecular basis of IGF1 activity during lung development.
Methods/Principal Findings
Prenatal Igf1−/− mutant mice with a C57Bl/6J genetic background displayed severe disproportional lung hypoplasia, leading to lethal neonatal respiratory distress. Immuno-histological analysis of their lungs showed a thickened mesenchyme, alterations in extracellular matrix deposition, thinner smooth muscles and dilated blood vessels, which indicated immature and delayed distal pulmonary organogenesis. Transcriptomic analysis of Igf1−/− E18.5 lungs using RNA microarrays identified deregulated genes related to vascularization, morphogenesis and cellular growth, and to MAP-kinase, Wnt and cell-adhesion pathways. Up-regulation of immunity-related genes was verified by an increase in inflammatory markers. Increased expression of Nfib and reduced expression of Klf2, Egr1 and Ctgf regulatory proteins as well as activation of ERK2 MAP-kinase were corroborated by Western blot. Among IGF-system genes only IGFBP2 revealed a reduction in mRNA expression in mutant lungs. Immuno-staining patterns for IGF1R and IGF2, similar in both genotypes, correlated to alterations found in specific cell compartments of Igf1−/− lungs. IGF1 addition to Igf1−/− embryonic lungs cultured ex vivo increased airway septa remodeling and distal epithelium maturation, processes accompanied by up-regulation of Nfib and Klf2 transcription factors and Cyr61 matricellular protein.
We demonstrated the functional tissue specific implication of IGF1 on fetal lung development in mice. Results revealed novel target genes and gene networks mediators of IGF1 action on pulmonary cellular proliferation, differentiation, adhesion and immunity, and on vascular and distal epithelium maturation during prenatal lung development.
PMCID: PMC3877002  PMID: 24391734
7.  Insulin-like factor regulates neural induction through an IGF1 receptor-independent mechanism 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:11603.
Insulin receptor (IR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) signalling is required for normal embryonic growth and development. Previous reports indicated that the IGF/IGF1R/MAPK pathway contributes to neural induction and the IGF/IGF1R/PI3K/Akt pathway to eye development. Here, we report the isolation of insulin3 encoding a novel insulin-like ligand involved in neural induction. Insulin3 has a similar structure to pro-insulin and mature IGF ligands, but cannot activate the IGF1 receptor. However, similar to IGFs, Insulin3 induced the gene expression of an anterior neural marker, otx2, and enlarged anterior head structures by inhibiting Wnt signalling. Insulin3 are predominantly localised to the endoplasmic reticulum when otx2 is induced by insulin3. Insulin3 reduced extracellular Wnts and cell surface localised Lrp6. These results suggest that Insulin3 is a novel cell-autonomous inhibitor of Wnt signalling. This study provides the first evidence that an insulin-like factor regulates neural induction through an IGF1R-independent mechanism.
PMCID: PMC4481404  PMID: 26112133
8.  Motor Function Deficits Following Chronic Prenatal Ethanol Exposure are Linked to Impairments in Insulin/IGF, Notch and Wnt Signaling in the Cerebellum 
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is associated with deficits in cerebellar function that can persist through adolescence. Previous studies demonstrated striking inhibition of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling in ethanol-exposed cerebella.
We sought to determine if FASD-induced impairments in motor function were associated with deficits in insulin/IGF signaling in juvenile cerebella. Given the growing evidence that insulin/IGF pathways cross-talk with Notch and Wnt to promote brain development and maturation; we also examined the integrity of canonical Wnt and Notch signaling networks in the brain following chronic prenatal ethanol exposure.
Pregnant Long Evans rats were fed isocaloric liquid diets containing 0% or 24% ethanol by caloric content from gestation day 6 through delivery. Pups were subjected to rotarod testing on postnatal days (P) 15–16 and sacrificed on P30. Cerebella were used for molecular and biochemical analysis of insulin/IGF-1, canonical Wnt, and Notch signaling mechanisms.
Prenatal ethanol exposures impaired rotarod performance, inhibited signaling through insulin and IGF-1 receptors, IRS-1, and Akt, increased activation of GSK-3β, and broadly suppressed genes mediating the canonical Wnt and Notch networks.
Abnormalities in cerebellar function following chronic prenatal ethanol exposure are associated with inhibition of insulin/IGF, canonical Wnt, and Notch networks that cross-talk via GSK-3β. Effective therapeutic measures for FASD may require multi-pronged support of interrelated signaling networks that regulate brain development.
PMCID: PMC4096945  PMID: 25035811
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; Insulin; IGF; Wnt; Notch; Cerebellum; Prenatal ethanol exposure; Signal transduction; Multiplex ELISA
9.  MicroRNA-133a Regulates Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Receptor Expression and Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation in Murine Atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis  2013;232(1):171-179.
MicroRNA-133a (miR-133a) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) are two different molecules known to regulate cardiovascular cell proliferation. This study tested whether miR-133a affects expression of IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and proliferation of IGF-1-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) in a murine model of atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
Expression of IGF-1R was analyzed by immuno-fluorescence and immuno-blotting, and miR-133a by qRT-PCR in the aortas of wild-type C57BL/6J (WT) and apolipoprotein-E deficient (ApoE−/−) mice. Compared to those in WT aortas, the IGF-1R and miR-133a levels were lower in ApoE−/− aortas. ApoE−/− VSMC grew slower than WT cells in the cultures with IGF-1-containing medium. MiR-133a-specific inhibitor decreased miR-133a, IGF-1R expression, IGF-1-stimulated VSMC growth in lipoprotein-deficient media. By contrast, miR-133a precursor increased IGF-1R levels and promoted IGF-1-induced VSMC proliferation. In the luciferase-IGF-1R 3’UTR reporter system, the reporter luciferase activity was not inhibited in VSMC with miR-133a overexpression. IGF-1R mRNA half-life in ApoE−/− VSMC was shorter than that in WT VSMC. MiR-133a inhibitor reduced but precursor increased the mRNA half-life, although the effects appeared less striking in ApoE−/− VSMC than in WT cells.
MiR-133a serves as a stimulatory factor for IGF-1R expression through prolonging IGF-1R mRNA half-life. In atherosclerosis induced by ApoE deficiency, reduced miR-133a expression is associated with lower IGF-1R levels and suppressive VSMC growth. Administration of miR-133a precursor may potentiate IGF-1 stimulated VSMC survival and growth.
PMCID: PMC4334121  PMID: 24401233
MicroRNA; Insulin-like growth factor; Artery; Smooth muscle cell; Atherosclerosis
10.  Resveratrol suppresses IGF-1 induced human colon cancer cell proliferation and elevates apoptosis via suppression of IGF-1R/Wnt and activation of p53 signaling pathways 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:238.
Obesity is a global phenomenon and is associated with various types of cancer, including colon cancer. There is a growing interest for safe and effective bioactive compounds that suppress the risk for obesity-promoted colon cancer. Resveratrol (trans-3, 4', 5,-trihydroxystilbene), a stilbenoid found in the skin of red grapes and peanuts suppresses many types of cancers by regulating cell proliferation and apoptosis through a variety of mechanisms, however, resveratrol effects on obesity-promoted colon cancer are not clearly established.
We investigated the anti-proliferative effects of resveratrol on HT-29 and SW480 human colon cancer cells in the presence and absence of insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1; elevated during obesity) and elucidated the mechanisms of action using IGF-1R siRNA in HT-29 cells which represents advanced colon carcinogenesis.
Resveratrol (100-150 μM) exhibited anti-proliferative properties in HT-29 cells even after IGF-1 exposure by arresting G0/G1-S phase cell cycle progression through p27 stimulation and cyclin D1 suppression. Treatment with resveratrol suppressed IGF-1R protein levels and concurrently attenuated the downstream Akt/Wnt signaling pathways that play a critical role in cell proliferation. Targeted suppression of IGF-1R using IGF-1R siRNA also affected these signaling pathways in a similar manner. Resveratrol treatment induced apoptosis by activating tumor suppressor p53 protein, whereas IGF-1R siRNA treatment did not affect apoptosis. Our data suggests that resveratrol not only suppresses cell proliferation by inhibiting IGF-1R and its downstream signaling pathways similar to that of IGF-1R siRNA but also enhances apoptosis via activation of the p53 pathway.
For the first time, we report that resveratrol suppresses colon cancer cell proliferation and elevates apoptosis even in the presence of IGF-1 via suppression of IGF-1R/Akt/Wnt signaling pathways and activation of p53, suggesting its potential role as a chemotherapeutic agent.
PMCID: PMC2891636  PMID: 20504360
11.  IGF-1R Signaling in Chondrocytes Modulates Growth Plate Development by Interacting With the PTHrP/Ihh Pathway 
Systemic derangements and perinatal death of generalized insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) knockout mice preclude definitive assessment of IGF-1R actions in growth-plate (GP) chondrocytes. We generated cartilage-specific Igf1r knockout (CartIgf1r−/−) mice to investigate local control of chondrocyte differentiation in the GP by this receptor. These mice died shortly after birth and showed disorganized chondrocyte columns, delayed ossification and vascular invasion, decreased cell proliferation, increased apoptosis, and increased expression of parathyroid hormone-related protein (Pthrp) RNA and protein in their GPs. The increased Pthrp expression in the knockout GPs likely was due to an increase in gene transcription, as determined by the increased activity of a LacZ reporter that was inserted downstream of the endogenous PTHrP promoter and bred into the knockout mice. To circumvent the early death of CartIgf1r−/− mice and investigate the role of IGF-1R during postnatal growth, we made tamoxifen (Tam)–inducible, cartilage-specific Igf1r knockout (TamCartIgf1r−/−) mice. At 2 weeks of age and 7 to 8 days after Tam injection, the TamCartIgf1r−/− mice showed growth retardation with a disorganized GP, reduced chondrocyte proliferation, decreased type 2 collagen and Indian Hedgehog (Ihh) expression, but increased expression of PTHrP. Consistent with in vivo observations, in vitro knockout of the Igf1r gene by adenoviral expression of Cre recombinase suppressed cell proliferation, promoted apoptosis, and increased Pthrp expression. Our data indicate that the IGF-1R in chondrocytes controls cell growth, survival, and differentiation in embryonic and postnatal GPs in part by suppression of Pthrp expression.
PMCID: PMC3530140  PMID: 21312270
12.  Analysis of the Role of Igf2 in Adrenal Tumour Development in Transgenic Mouse Models 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e44171.
Adrenal cortical carcinomas (ACC) are rare but aggressive tumours associated with poor prognosis. The two most frequent alterations in ACC in patients are overexpression of the growth factor IGF2 and constitutive activation of Wnt/β-catenin signalling. Using a transgenic mouse model, we have previously shown that constitutive active β-catenin is a bona fide adrenal oncogene. However, although all these mice developed benign adrenal hyperplasia, malignant progression was infrequent, suggesting that secondary genetic events were required for aggressive tumour development. In the present paper, we have tested IGF2 oncogenic properties by developing two distinct transgenic mouse models of Igf2 overexpression in the adrenal cortex. Our analysis shows that despite overexpression levels ranging from 7 (basal) to 87 (ACTH-induced) fold, Igf2 has no tumour initiating potential in the adrenal cortex. However, it induces aberrant accumulation of Gli1 and Pod1-positive progenitor cells, in a hedgehog-independent manner. We have also tested the hypothesis that Igf2 may cooperate with Wnt signalling by mating Igf2 overexpressing lines with mice that express constitutive active β-catenin in the adrenal cortex. We show that the combination of both alterations has no effect on tumour phenotype at stages when β-catenin-induced tumours are benign. However, there is a mild promoting effect at later stages, characterised by increased Weiss score and proliferation. Formation of malignant tumours is nonetheless a rare event, even when Igf2 expression is further increased by ACTH treatment. Altogether these experiments suggest that the growth factor IGF2 is a mild contributor to malignant adrenocortical tumourigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3429465  PMID: 22952916
13.  IGF-1 promotes G1/S cell cycle progression through bidirectional regulation of cyclins and CDK inhibitors via the PI3K/Akt pathway in developing rat cerebral cortex 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2009;29(3):775-788.
While survival promoting effects of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) during neurogenesis are well characterized, mitogenic effects remain less well substantiated. Here, we characterize cell cycle regulators and signaling pathways underlying IGF-1 effects on embryonic cortical precursor proliferation in vitro and in vivo. In vitro, IGF-1 stimulated cell cycle progression and increased cell number without promoting cell survival. IGF-1 induced rapid increases in cyclin D1 and D3 protein levels at 4h and cyclin E at 8h. Moreover, p27KIP1 and p57KIP2 expression were reduced, suggesting downregulation of negative regulators contributes to mitogenesis. Further, the PI3K/Akt pathway specifically underlies IGF-1 activity, as blocking this pathway, but not MEK/ERK, prevented mitogenesis. To determine whether mechanisms defined in culture relate to corticogenesis in vivo, we performed transuterine intracerebroventricular injections. While blockade of endogenous factor with anti-IGF-1 antibody decreased DNA synthesis, IGF-1 injection stimulated DNA synthesis and increased the number of S-phase cells in the VZ. IGF-1 treatment increased phospho-Akt 4 fold at 30 min, cyclins D1 and E by 6h, and decreased p27KIP1 and p57KIP2 expression. Moreover, blockade of the PI3K/Akt pathway in vivo decreased DNA synthesis and cyclin E, increased p27KIP1 and p57KIP2 expression, and prevented IGF-1 induced cyclin E mRNA upregulation. Finally, IGF-1 injection in embryos increased P10 brain DNA content by 28%, suggesting a role for IGF-1 in brain growth control. These results demonstrate a mitogenic role for IGF-1 which tightly controls both positive and negative cell cycle regulators, and indicate that the PI3K/Akt pathway mediates IGF-1 mitogenic signaling during corticogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3256126  PMID: 19158303
corticogenesis; IGF-1; p27KIP1; p57KIP2; PI3K/Akt; proliferation
14.  Insulin-like growth factor 2 reverses memory and synaptic deficits in APP transgenic mice 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2014;6(10):1246-1262.
Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) was recently found to play a critical role in memory consolidation in rats and mice, and hippocampal or systemic administration of recombinant IGF2 enhances memory. Here, using a gene therapy-based approach with adeno-associated virus (AAV), we show that IGF2 overexpression in the hippocampus of aged wild-type mice enhances memory and promotes dendritic spine formation. Furthermore, we report that IGF2 expression decreases in the hippocampus of patients with Alzheimer's disease, and this leads us to hypothesize that increased IGF2 levels may be beneficial for treating the disease. Thus, we used the AAV system to deliver IGF2 or IGF1 into the hippocampus of the APP mouse model Tg2576 and demonstrate that IGF2 and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) rescue behavioural deficits, promote dendritic spine formation and restore normal hippocampal excitatory synaptic transmission. The brains of Tg2576 mice that overexpress IGF2 but not IGF1 also show a significant reduction in amyloid levels. This reduction probably occurs through an interaction with the IGF2 receptor (IGF2R). Hence, IGF2 and, to a lesser extent, IGF1 may be effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC4287930  PMID: 25100745
Alzheimer's disease; IGF1; IGF2; IGF2R; synaptic plasticity
15.  RNA Microarray Analysis in Prenatal Mouse Cochlea Reveals Novel IGF-I Target Genes: Implication of MEF2 and FOXM1 Transcription Factors 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8699.
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) provides pivotal cell survival and differentiation signals during inner ear development throughout evolution. Homozygous mutations of human IGF1 cause syndromic sensorineural deafness, decreased intrauterine and postnatal growth rates, and mental retardation. In the mouse, deficits in IGF-I result in profound hearing loss associated with reduced survival, differentiation and maturation of auditory neurons. Nevertheless, little is known about the molecular basis of IGF-I activity in hearing and deafness.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A combination of quantitative RT-PCR, subcellular fractionation and Western blotting, along with in situ hybridization studies show IGF-I and its high affinity receptor to be strongly expressed in the embryonic and postnatal mouse cochlea. The expression of both proteins decreases after birth and in the cochlea of E18.5 embryonic Igf1−/− null mice, the balance of the main IGF related signalling pathways is altered, with lower activation of Akt and ERK1/2 and stronger activation of p38 kinase. By comparing the Igf1−/− and Igf1+/+ transcriptomes in E18.5 mouse cochleae using RNA microchips and validating their results, we demonstrate the up-regulation of the FoxM1 transcription factor and the misexpression of the neural progenitor transcription factors Six6 and Mash1 associated with the loss of IGF-I. Parallel, in silico promoter analysis of the genes modulated in conjunction with the loss of IGF-I revealed the possible involvement of MEF2 in cochlear development. E18.5 Igf1+/+ mouse auditory ganglion neurons showed intense MEF2A and MEF2D nuclear staining and MEF2A was also evident in the organ of Corti. At P15, MEF2A and MEF2D expression were shown in neurons and sensory cells. In the absence of IGF-I, nuclear levels of MEF2 were diminished, indicating less transcriptional MEF2 activity. By contrast, there was an increase in the nuclear accumulation of FoxM1 and a corresponding decrease in the nuclear cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1.
We have defined the spatiotemporal expression of elements involved in IGF signalling during inner ear development and reveal novel regulatory mechanisms that are modulated by IGF-I in promoting sensory cell and neural survival and differentiation. These data will help us to understand the molecular bases of human sensorineural deafness associated to deficits in IGF-I.
PMCID: PMC2810322  PMID: 20111592
16.  IGF2 Actions on Trophoblast in Human Placenta Are Regulated by the Insulin-Like Growth Factor 2 Receptor, Which Can Function as Both a Signaling and Clearance Receptor1  
Biology of Reproduction  2010;84(3):440-446.
Insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) enhances proliferation and survival of human first-trimester cytotrophoblasts (CTB) by signaling through the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R). However, the role of the IGF2 receptor (IGF2R) in regulating trophoblast kinetics is unclear: It could act as a clearance receptor for trafficking excess ligand to lysosomes for degradation and/or directly mediate IGF2 signaling. We used an IGF2R knockdown strategy in BeWo cells and placental villous explants to investigate trophoblast proliferation and survival in response to stimulation by IGF. Both IGF1 and IGF2 significantly (P < 0.001) increased mitosis and reduced apoptosis in serum-starved BeWo cells. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of IGF2R further enhanced IGF2-stimulated mitosis (P < 0.01), and IGF2-mediated rescue of apoptosis (P < 0.001) in these cells. Leu27IGF2, an IGF2 analogue that binds to IGF2R but not IGF1R, also protected IGF2R-expressing BeWo cells from apoptosis but did not increase mitosis. IGF treatment of term placental villous explants with reduced syncytial expression of IGF2R increased CTB proliferation (P < 0.001) and decreased apoptosis (P < 0.01) compared to untreated controls. Moreover, IGF2-mediated rescue of CTB apoptosis was significantly greater than that in tissue with normal IGF2R expression. Leu27IGF2 promoted mitogenesis and survival only in explants with intact IGF2R expression. Given that altered CTB turnover is observed in pregnancies complicated by fetal growth restriction, the development of strategies to manipulate the IGF2R signaling axis in the syncytiotrophoblast may provide a therapeutic avenue for treating this condition.
Insulin-like growth factor 2 receptor knockdown enhances human trophoblast survival.
PMCID: PMC3043127  PMID: 20980691
apoptosis; IGF; insulin-like growth factor receptor; placenta; pregnancy; proliferation; trophoblast
17.  Brain IGF-1 Receptors Control Mammalian Growth and Lifespan through a Neuroendocrine Mechanism 
PLoS Biology  2008;6(10):e254.
Mutations that decrease insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and growth hormone signaling limit body size and prolong lifespan in mice. In vertebrates, these somatotropic hormones are controlled by the neuroendocrine brain. Hormone-like regulations discovered in nematodes and flies suggest that IGF signals in the nervous system can determine lifespan, but it is unknown whether this applies to higher organisms. Using conditional mutagenesis in the mouse, we show that brain IGF receptors (IGF-1R) efficiently regulate somatotropic development. Partial inactivation of IGF-1R in the embryonic brain selectively inhibited GH and IGF-I pathways after birth. This caused growth retardation, smaller adult size, and metabolic alterations, and led to delayed mortality and longer mean lifespan. Thus, early changes in neuroendocrine development can durably modify the life trajectory in mammals. The underlying mechanism appears to be an adaptive plasticity of somatotropic functions allowing individuals to decelerate growth and preserve resources, and thereby improve fitness in challenging environments. Our results also suggest that tonic somatotropic signaling entails the risk of shortened lifespan.
Author Summary
Using a mouse model relevant for humans, we showed that lifespan can be significantly extended by reducing the signaling selectively of a protein called IGF-I in the central nervous system. This effect occurred through changes in specific neuroendocrine pathways. Dissecting the pathophysiological mechanism, we discovered that IGF receptors in the mammalian brain efficiently steered the development of the somatotropic axis, which in turn affected the individual growth trajectory and lifespan. Our work confirms experimentally that continuously low IGF-I and low growth hormone levels favor extended lifespan and postpone age-related mortality. Together with other recent reports, our results further challenge the view that administration of GH can prevent, or even counteract human aging. This knowledge is important since growth hormone is often prescribed to elderly people in an attempt to compensate the unwanted effects of aging. Growth hormone and IGF-I are also substances frequently used for doping in sports.
Inactivating IGF receptors in the brain decreased growth hormone and IGF-I, and increased lifespan in healthy mice. Such neuroendocrine longevity could be a physiological response to environment.
PMCID: PMC2573928  PMID: 18959478
18.  Insulin-like growth factor family and combined antisense approach in therapy of lung carcinoma. 
Molecular Medicine  2002;8(3):149-157.
BACKGROUND: Perturbation in a level of any peptide from insulin-like growth factor (IGF) family (ligands, receptors, and binding proteins) seems to be implicated in lung cancer formation; IGF ligands and IGF-I receptor through their mitogenic and anti-apoptotic action, and the mannose 6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor II receptor (M6-P/IGF-IIR) possibly as a tumor suppressor. MATERIALS AND METHODS: To determine the identity, role, and mutual relationship of IGFs in lung cancer growth and maintenance, we examined IGF's gene (by RT-PCR) and protein (by immunohistochemistry) expression in 69 human lung carcinoma tissues. We also examined IGF-I receptor numbers (Scatchard analysis) and IGF-II production and release (by Western blot) in IGF-II/IGF-IR mRNA positive and negative lung carcinomas. Finally, the potential role of IGF-IR and IGF-II as growth promoting factors in lung cancer was studied using antisense oligodeoxynucleotides that specifically inhibit IGF-IR and IGF-II mRNA. RESULTS: Thirty-two tumors were positive for IGF-I, 39 for IGF-II, 48 for IGF-IR, and 35 for IGFBP-4 mRNA. Seventeen tumors were concomitantly positive for all four IGFs, whereas 34 were positive for IGF-II, IGF-IR, and IGFBP-4 mRNA. An elevated amount of IGF-II peptide was secreted into the growth medium of cell cultures established from five different IGF-II/IGF-IR mRNA positive lung cancer tissues. The cells also expressed elevated numbers of IGF-IR. Nine IGF-II-negative and 19 IGF-II-positive lung cancers of different stages were selected, and M6-P/ IGF-II receptor was determined immunohistochemically. Most of the IGF-II-negative tumors were strongly positive for M6-P/IGF-IIR. IGF-II-positive tumors were mostly negative for M6-P/IGF-II receptors. Antisense oligodeoxynucleotides to IGF-II significantly inhibited, by 25-60%, the in vitro growth of all six lung cancer cell lines. However, the best results (growth inhibition of up to 80%) were achieved with concomitant antisense treatment (to IGF-IR and IGF-II). CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that lung cancer cells produce IGF-IR and IGF-II, which in turn stimulates their proliferation by autocrine mechanism. Cancer cell proliferation can be abrogated or alleviated by blocking the mRNA activity of these genes indicating that an antisense approach may represent an effective and practical cancer gene therapy strategy.
PMCID: PMC2039980  PMID: 12142546
19.  Insulin Receptor Isoform A, a Newly Recognized, High-Affinity Insulin-Like Growth Factor II Receptor in Fetal and Cancer Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(5):3278-3288.
Insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) is a peptide growth factor that is homologous to both insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and insulin and plays an important role in embryonic development and carcinogenesis. IGF-II is believed to mediate its cellular signaling via the transmembrane tyrosine kinase type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-I-R), which is also the receptor for IGF-I. Earlier studies with both cultured cells and transgenic mice, however, have suggested that in the embryo the insulin receptor (IR) may also be a receptor for IGF-II. In most cells and tissues, IR binds IGF-II with relatively low affinity. The IR is expressed in two isoforms (IR-A and IR-B) differing by 12 amino acids due to the alternative splicing of exon 11. In the present study we found that IR-A but not IR-B bound IGF-II with an affinity close to that of insulin. Moreover, IGF-II bound to IR-A with an affinity equal to that of IGF-II binding to the IGF-I-R. Activation of IR-A by insulin led primarily to metabolic effects, whereas activation of IR-A by IGF-II led primarily to mitogenic effects. These differences in the biological effects of IR-A when activated by either IGF-II or insulin were associated with differential recruitment and activation of intracellular substrates. IR-A was preferentially expressed in fetal cells such as fetal fibroblasts, muscle, liver and kidney and had a relatively increased proportion of isoform A. IR-A expression was also increased in several tumors including those of the breast and colon. These data indicate, therefore, that there are two receptors for IGF-II, both IGF-I-R and IR-A. Further, they suggest that interaction of IGF-II with IR-A may play a role both in fetal growth and cancer biology.
PMCID: PMC84122  PMID: 10207053
20.  Novel Nuclear Localization and Potential Function of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Receptor/Insulin Receptor Hybrid in Corneal Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42483.
Type I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) and insulin receptor (INSR) are highly homologous molecules, which can heterodimerize to form an IGF-1R/INSR hybrid (Hybrid-R). The presence and biological significance of the Hybrid-R in human corneal epithelium has not yet been established. In addition, while nuclear localization of IGF-1R was recently reported in cancer cells and human corneal epithelial cells, the function and profile of nuclear IGF-1R is unknown. In this study, we characterized the nuclear localization and function of the Hybrid-R and the role of IGF-1/IGF-1R and Hybrid-R signaling in the human corneal epithelium.
Methodology/Principle Findings
IGF-1-mediated signaling and cell growth were examined in a human telomerized corneal epithelial (hTCEpi) cell line using co-immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting and cell proliferation assays. The presence of Hybrid-R in hTCEpi and primary cultured human corneal epithelial cells was confirmed by immunofluorescence and reciprocal immunoprecipitation of whole cell lysates. We found that IGF-1 stimulated Akt and promoted cell growth through IGF-1R activation, which was independent of the Hybrid-R. The presence of Hybrid-R, but not IGF-1R/IGF-1R, was detected in nuclear extracts. Knockdown of INSR by small interfering RNA resulted in depletion of the INSR/INSR and preferential formation of Hybrid-R. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation sequencing assay with anti-IGF-1R or anti-INSR was subsequently performed to identify potential genomic targets responsible for critical homeostatic regulatory pathways.
In contrast to previous reports on nuclear localized IGF-1R, this is the first report identifying the nuclear localization of Hybrid-R in an epithelial cell line. The identification of a nuclear Hybrid-R and novel genomic targets suggests that IGF-1R traffics to the nucleus as an IGF-1R/INSR heterotetrameric complex to regulate corneal epithelial homeostatic pathways. The development of novel therapeutic strategies designed to target the IGF-1/IGF-1R pathway must take into account the modulatory roles IGF-1R/INSR play in the epithelial cell nucleus.
PMCID: PMC3411736  PMID: 22879999
Glia  2007;55(4):400-411.
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) has been shown to be a potent agent in promoting the growth and differentiation of oligodendrocyte precursors, and in stimulating myelination during development and following injury. To definitively determine whether IGF-I acts directly on the cells of oligodendrocyte lineage, we generated lines of mice in which the type 1 IGF receptor gene (igf1r) was conditionally ablated either in Olig1 or proteolipid protein expressing cells (termed IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko and IGF1Roligo-ko mice, respectively). Compared to wild type mice, IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice had a decreased volume (by 35% to 55 %) and cell number (by 54% to 70%) in the corpus callosum (CC) and anterior commissure at 2 and 6 weeks of age, respectively. IGF1Roligo-ko mice by 25 weeks of age also showed reductions, albeit less marked, in CC volume and cell number. Unlike astrocytes, the percentage of NG2+ oligodendrocyte precursors was decreased by ~13% in 2-week-old IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice, while the percentage of CC1+ mature oligodendrocytes was decreased by ~24% in 6-week-old IGF1Rpre-oligo-ko mice and ~25% in 25-week-old IGF1Roligo-ko mice. The reduction in these cells is apparently a result of decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. These results indicate that IGF-I directly affects oligodendrocytes and myelination in vivo via IGF1R, and that IGF1R signaling in the cells of oligodendrocyte lineage is required for normal oligodendrocyte development and myelination. These data also provide a fundamental basis for developing strategies with the potential to target IGF-IGF1R signaling pathways in oligodendrocyte lineage cells for the treatment of demyelinating disorders.
PMCID: PMC1774584  PMID: 17186502
IGF-I; IGF1R; Olig1; PLP; MBP; mutant mice; oligodendrocyte precursors
22.  A moderate elevation of circulating levels of IGF-I does not alter ErbB2 induced mammary tumorigenesis 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:377.
Epidemiological evidence suggests that moderately elevated levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) are associated with increased risk of breast cancer in women. How circulating IGF-I may promote breast cancer incidence is unknown, however, increased IGF-I signaling is linked to trastuzumab resistance in ErbB2 positive breast cancer. Few models have directly examined the effect of moderately high levels of circulating IGF-I on breast cancer initiation and progression. The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of circulating IGF-I to independently initiate mammary tumorigenesis and/or accelerate the progression of ErbB2 mediated mammary tumor growth.
We crossed heterozygous TTR-IGF-I mice with heterozygous MMTV-ErbB2 mice to generate 4 different genotypes: TTR-IGF-I/MMTV-ErbB2 (bigenic), TTR-IGF-I only, MMTV-ErbB2 only, and wild type (wt). Virgin females were palpated twice a week and harvested when tumors reached 1000 mm3. For study of normal development, blood and tissue were harvested at 4, 6 and 9 weeks of age in TTR-IGF-I and wt mice.
TTR-IGF-I and TTR-IGF-I/ErbB2 bigenic mice showed a moderate 35% increase in circulating total IGF-I compared to ErbB2 and wt control mice. Elevation of circulating IGF-I had no effect upon pubertal mammary gland development. The transgenic increase in IGF-I alone wasn't sufficient to initiate mammary tumorigenesis. Elevated circulating IGF-I had no effect upon ErbB2-induced mammary tumorigenesis or metastasis, with median time to tumor formation being 30 wks and 33 wks in TTR-IGF-I/ErbB2 bigenic and ErbB2 mice respectively (p = 0.65). Levels of IGF-I in lysates from ErbB2/TTR-IGF-I tumors compared to ErbB2 was elevated in a similar manner to the circulating IGF-I, however, there was no effect on the rate of tumor growth (p = 0.23). There were no morphological differences in tumor type (solid adenocarcinomas) between bigenic and ErbB2 mammary glands.
Using the first transgenic animal model to elevate circulating levels of IGF-I to those comparable to women at increased risk of breast cancer, we showed that moderately high levels of systemic IGF-I have no effect on pubertal mammary gland development, initiating mammary tumorigenesis or promoting ErbB2 driven mammary carcinogenesis. Our work suggests that ErbB2-induced mammary tumorigenesis is independent of the normal variation in circulating levels of IGF-I.
PMCID: PMC3189189  PMID: 21867536
23.  Expression of insulin-like growth factor I by activated hepatic stellate cells reduces fibrogenesis and enhances regeneration after liver injury 
Gut  2005;54(1):134-141.
Background/Aim: Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) express α-smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and acquire a profibrogenic phenotype upon activation by noxious stimuli. Insulin-like growth I (IGF-I) has been shown to stimulate HSCs proliferation in vitro, but it has been reported to reduce liver damage and fibrogenesis when given to cirrhotic rats.
Methods: The authors used transgenic mice (SMP8-IGF-I) expressing IGF-I under control of αSMA promoter to study the influence of IGF-I synthesised by activated HSCs on the recovery from liver injury.
Results: The transgene was expressed by HSCs from SMP8-IGF-I mice upon activation in culture and in the livers of these animals after CCl4 challenge. Twenty four hours after administration of CCl4 both transgenic and wild type mice showed similar extensive necrosis and increased levels of serum transaminases. However at 72 hours SMP8-IGF-I mice exhibited lower serum transaminases, reduced hepatic expression of αSMA, and improved liver morphology compared with wild type littermates. Remarkably, at this time all eight CCl4 treated wild type mice manifested histological signs of liver necrosis that was severe in six of them, while six out of eight transgenic animals had virtually no necrosis. In SMP8-IGF-I mice robust DNA synthesis occurred earlier than in wild type animals and this was associated with enhanced production of HGF and lower TGFβ1 mRNA expression in the SMP8-IGF-I group. Moreover, Colα1(I) mRNA abundance at 72 hours was reduced in SMP8-IGF-I mice compared with wild type controls.
Conclusions: Targeted overexpression of IGF-I by activated HSCs restricts their activation, attenuates fibrogenesis, and accelarates liver regeneration. These effects appear to be mediated in part by upregulation of HGF and downregulation of TGFβ1. The data indicate that IGF-I can modulate the cytokine response to liver injury facilitating regeneration and reducing fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC1774353  PMID: 15591519
carbon tetrachloride; HGF; smooth muscle actin; TGFβ; transgenic mice
24.  Frataxin deficiency unveils cell-context dependent actions of insulin-like growth factor I on neurons 
Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by deficiency of the mitochondrial iron chaperone frataxin (Fxn). FRDA has no cure, but disease-modifying strategies to increase frataxin are under study. Because insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) has therapeutic effects in various types of cerebellar ataxia and exerts protective actions on mitochondrial function, we explored the potential Fxn-stimulating activity of this growth factor on brain cells.
IGF-I normalized frataxin levels in frataxin-deficient neurons and astrocytes through its canonical Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. IGF-I also stimulated frataxin in normal astrocytes but not in normal neurons, whereas IGF-I stimulated the Akt/mTOR pathway in both types of cells. This cell context-dependent action of IGF-I on neurons suggested that the intrinsic regulation of Fxn in neurons is different than in astrocytes. Indeed, neurons express much higher levels of frataxin and are much more sensitive to Fxn deficiency than astrocytes; i.e.: only neurons die in the absence of frataxin. In addition, the half-life of frataxin is shorter in neurons than in astrocytes, while after blockade of the proteasome only neurons responded to IGF-I with an increase in frataxin levels. We also explore a potential therapeutic utility of IGF-I in FRDA-like transgenic mice (YG8R mice) and found that treatment with IGF-I normalized motor coordination in these moderately ataxic mice.
Exposure to IGF-I unveiled a cell-specific regulation of frataxin in neurons as compared to astrocytes. Collectively, these results indicate that IGF-I exerts cell-context neuroprotection in frataxin deficiency that maybe therapeutically effective.
PMCID: PMC3547778  PMID: 23039828
Friedreich’s ataxia; Frataxin; Insulin-like growth factor 1; Neuroprotection
25.  Type 1 IGF receptor translocates to the nucleus of human tumor cells 
Cancer research  2010;70(16):6412-6419.
The type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) is a transmembrane glycoprotein comprising two extracellular α subunits and two β subunits with tyrosine kinase activity. The IGF-1R is frequently upregulated in cancers, and signals from the cell surface to promote proliferation and cell survival. Recent attention has focused on the IGF-1R as a target for cancer treatment. Here we report that the nuclei of human tumor cells contain IGF-1R, detectable using multiple antibodies to α- and β- subunit domains. Cell surface IGF-1R translocates to the nucleus following clathrin-mediated endocytosis, regulated by IGF levels. The IGF-1R is unusual among transmembrane receptors that undergo nuclear import, in that both α and β subunits traffic to the nucleus. Nuclear IGF-1R is phosphorylated in response to ligand, and undergoes IGF-induced interaction with chromatin, suggesting direct engagement in transcriptional regulation. The IGF-dependence of these phenomena indicate a requirement for the receptor kinase, and indeed IGF-1R nuclear import and chromatin binding can be blocked by a novel IGF-1R kinase inhibitor. Nuclear IGF-1R is detectable in primary renal cancer cells, formalin-fixed tumors, preinvasive lesions in the breast, and non-malignant tissues characterized by a high proliferation rate. In clear cell renal cancer, nuclear IGF-1R is associated with adverse prognosis. Our findings suggest that IGF-1R nuclear import has biological significance, may contribute directly to IGF-1R function, and may influence the efficacy of IGF-1R inhibitory drugs.
PMCID: PMC2981028  PMID: 20710042

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