A Review of Insulin/Insulin-Like Peptide in the Central Nervous System

  • Sherin U. Devaskar
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 293)


Insulin has been demonstrated within the brain of various animal species (1). Investigations undertaken in the chick demonstrated the presence of insulin in embryonic heads prior to the development of pancreatic insulin (2). These observations prompted a search for an extra-pancreatic source of insulin production within the brain. A surge of reports were subsequently noted (3–7) including the recent observations of brain insulin-like transcripts (8–12), thereby defending a central nervous system origin of insulin. On the other hand, there has been accumulating evidence supporting the fact that circulating insulin crosses the blood-cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) barrier and enters the CSF (13–14). Having entered the CSF, insulin was then observed to be taken up by the brain parenchyma at the circumventricular organs which lack a blood-brain barrier (15–17). Thus, there continues to be an ongoing controversy as to the exact origin of insulin within the CNS. Is it pancreatic or extra-pancreatic?


Insulin Receptor Insulin Synthesis Brain Insulin Insulin mRNA Sialic Acid Moiety 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherin U. Devaskar
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsSt. Louis University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.The Pediatric Research InstituteCardinal Glennon Children’s HospitalSt. LouisUSA

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