Insulin-Like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) and Glucose Dysregulation in Young Adult Patients with β-Thalassemia Major: Causality or Potential Link? : IGF-1 and glucose dysregulation in thalassemia

Insulin-Like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) and Glucose Dysregulation in Young Adult Patients with β-Thalassemia Major: Causality or Potential Link?

IGF-1 and glucose dysregulation in thalassemia


  • Vincenzo De Sanctis Quisisana Hospital, Ferrara
  • Ashraf Soliman Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar and Department of Pediatrics, Division of Endocrinology, Alexandria University Children’s Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt
  • Shahina Daar 3 Department of Haematology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, Oman
  • Ploutarchos Tzoulis Department of Metabolism and Experimental Therapeutics, Division of Medicine, University College London, London, UK
  • Mohamed A. Yassin Hematology-Oncology Department, National Centre for Cancer Care and Research, Doha, Qatar
  • Salvatore Di Maio Emeritus Director in Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital “Santobono-Pausilipon”, Naples, Italy
  • Christos Kattamis First Department of Pediatrics, National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece


β-thalassemia major, Insulin-like growth factor-1, glucose homeostasis, oral glucose tolerance test


Background: Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) has been shown to lower blood glucose through stimulating glucose transport to fat and muscle and inhibiting hepatic glucose output. Although previous cross-sectional reports reported an association between low circulating concentrations of IGF-1 and glucose dysregulation (GD), its role is still debated. Aims of study: The present retrospective study was designed to assess the circulating IGF-1 levels in β-thalassemia major (β -TM) patients with normal oral glucose tolerance test (NGT-OGTT) and (GD) referred for an endocrine evaluation to explore the potential link between low IGF-1 and GD. Study design and methods: Our study included 34 young adult patients with β-TM; 12 patients with NGT after OGTT, 7 with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 9 with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) plus IGT, and 6 patients with β-TM-related diabetes mellitus (β-TM- DM). Results: Twenty-two β-TM patients with GD or β-TM- DM and 1 patient with NGT had IGF-1 levels below the 2.5th percentile. Correlation of IGF-1 with fasting plasma glucose, HOMA-IR (homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance) and OGIS (oral glucose insulin sensitivity) was found. Moreover, a negative correlation was documented between ALT and the Insulinogenic Index (IGI) and a positive correlation between serum ferritin and PG 2-h after OGTT. Conclusion: This study reports for the first time an association between low levels of IGF-1 and GD in β-TM patients. Despite some limitations, our study can serve to generate proposals for more convenient and efficient methods to identify and treat early GD in patients with β-TM, and to conduct more extensive studies.


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Insulin-Like Growth Factor -1 (IGF-1) and Glucose Dysregulation in Young Adult Patients with β-Thalassemia Major: Causality or Potential Link? : IGF-1 and glucose dysregulation in thalassemia. Acta Biomed [Internet]. 2022 Dec. 16 [cited 2024 Jun. 15];93(6):e2022331. Available from:

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