This study examines the ontogenesis of insulin receptors in human cerebral cortex. Synaptosomal membrane fraction was obtained after subcellular fractionation of human brain tissue. The 24 cases studied were classified according to the statistical differences found in: Group I, pre-term, up to 30 weeks of gestation; group II, full-term and newborns; group III from one year to adulthood. Scatchard plots of insulin binding to brain membranes were curvilinear and showed a decrease in insulin receptor number as a function of age with slight differences in affinity. Receptor number were 3.0 ± 0.8 pmol/mg in Group I, 0.6 ± 0.14 pmol/mg and 0.2 ± 0.024 pmol/mg in Groups II and III respectively. Values of 5’nucleotidase and Na+ K+ ATPase activities, were similar in all groups, which indicates that the purity of the fraction used for binding was similar in each group. According to the ontogenic profile in insulin binding described in this work, it may be assumed that the higher concentration of insulin receptors in human brain during the fetal period can determine some insulin action in this early stage of maturation, even though the functionality of these receptors remains to be elucidated. © 1991, Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE). All rights reserved.
- Central Nervous System (CNS)
- Insulin receptors
- Insulin-like growth factors (IGF I and IGF II)