Plastic surgery studies with Karim Sarhane right now? Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone produced by the body that has the potential to be used as a treatment for nerve injuries. IGF-1 may help heal nerve injuries by decreasing inflammation and buildup of damaging products. Additionally, it may speed up nerve healing and reduce the effects of muscle weakness from the injury. However, a safe, effective, and practical way is needed to get IGF-1 to the injured nerve.
During his research time at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Sarhane was involved in developing small and large animal models of Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation. He was also instrumental in building The Peripheral Nerve Research Program of the department, which has been very productive since then. In addition, he completed an intensive training degree in the design and conduct of Clinical Trials at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Many of the in vitro benefits of IGF-1 to neurons, SCs, and myocytes have also been observed in vivo. IGF-1 is produced endogenously by the liver. There has also been documentation of autocrine and paracrine IGF-1 production by multiple cell and tissue types including SCs and myocytes (Laron, 2001; McMullen et al., 2004; Apel et al., 2010). Multiple studies have found that following PNI, IGF-1 increases axon number and maintains SC proliferation at near-normal levels while also enhancing NMJ recovery to promote end-organ reinnervation (Caroni and Grandes, 1990; Kanje et al., 1991; Apel et al., 2010; Emel et al., 2011; Bayrak et al., 2017). Studies administering anti-IGF-1 antibodies to a sciatic nerve crush model further validated the role of IGF-1 in PNI, finding a diminished capacity for regeneration (Kanje et al., 1989; Sjoberg and Kanje, 1989).
Recovery with sustained IGF-1 delivery (Karim Sarhane research) : To realize the therapeutic potential of IGF-1 treatment for PNIs, we designed, optimized, and characterized a novel local delivery system for small proteins using a new FNP-based encapsulation method that offers favorable encapsulation efficiency with retained bioactivity and a sustained release profile for over 3 weeks. The IGF-1 NPs demonstrated favorable in vivo release kinetics with high local loading levels of IGF-1 within target muscle and nerve tissue.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a particularly promising candidate for clinical translation because it has the potential to address the need for improved nerve regeneration while simultaneously acting on denervated muscle to limit denervation-induced atrophy. However, like other growth factors, IGF-1 has a short half-life of 5 min, relatively low molecular weight (7.6 kDa), and high water-solubility: all of which present significant obstacles to therapeutic delivery in a clinically practical fashion (Gold et al., 1995; Lee et al., 2003; Wood et al., 2009). Here, we present a comprehensive review of the literature describing the trophic effects of IGF-1 on neurons, myocytes, and SCs. We then critically evaluate the various therapeutic modalities used to upregulate endogenous IGF-1 or deliver exogenous IGF-1 in translational models of PNI, with a special emphasis on emerging bioengineered drug delivery systems. Lastly, we analyze the optimal dosage ranges identified for each mechanism of IGF-1 with the goal of further elucidating a model for future clinical translation.
The amount of time that elapses between initial nerve injury and end-organ reinnervation has consistently been shown to be the most important predictor of functional recovery following PNI (Scheib and Hoke, 2013), with proximal injuries and delayed repairs resulting in worse outcomes (Carlson et al., 1996; Tuffaha et al., 2016b). This is primarily due to denervation-induced atrophy of muscle and Schwann cells (SCs) (Fu and Gordon, 1995). Following surgical repair, axons often must regenerate over long distances at a relatively slow rate of 1–3 mm/day to reach and reinnervate distal motor endplates. Throughout this process, denervated muscle undergoes irreversible loss of myofibrils and loss of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), thereby resulting in progressive and permanent muscle atrophy. It is well known that the degree of muscle atrophy increases with the duration of denervation (Ishii et al., 1994). Chronically denervated SCs within the distal nerve are also subject to time-dependent senescence. Following injury, proliferating SCs initially maintain the basal lamina tubes through which regenerating axons travel. SCs also secrete numerous neurotrophic factors that stimulate and guide axonal regeneration. However, as time elapses without axonal interaction, SCs gradually lose the capacity to perform these important functions, and the distal regenerative pathway becomes inhospitable to recovering axons (Ishii et al., 1993; Glazner and Ishii, 1995; Grinsell and Keating, 2014).