Letter | Published:

Insulin receptors are widely distributed in the central nervous system of the rat

Nature volume 272, pages 827829 (27 April 1978) | Download Citation

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Abstract

WHILE insulin can affect the function of the central nervous system (CNS) by producing hypoglycaemia, there is substantial evidence suggesting that insulin can also act directly on cells of the CNS to modify their function1–4. In a study of the phylogeny of the insulin receptor, Posner5 reported specific binding of 125I-insulin to membrane preparations from whole brain of rat, monkey and pigeon. Specific receptors for insulin have been detected in the hypothalamus of monkeys but not in the cerebral cortex or thalamus6; other regions of the CNS were not studied. We report here the presence of substantial concentrations of insulin receptors in discrete regions of the CNS of the rat. We detected specific binding of insulin in every area studied, although it differed by as much as five- to 10-fold among regions. The insulin receptor of the cerebral cortex was most extensively characterised, and by all criteria it was indistinguishable from the insulin receptor on classical target tissues (liver, muscle and fat) as well as other cells of humans, rodents7–10, and other mammals and non-mammalian vertebrates.

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Affiliations

  1. Diabetes Branch, National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism and Digestive Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20014

    • JANA HAVRANKOVA
    •  & JESSE ROTH
  2. Laboratory of Clinical Science, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20014

    • MICHAEL BROWNSTEIN

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/272827a0

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