IGFBP2 Produces Rapid-Acting and Long-Lasting Effects in Rat Models of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder via a Novel Mechanism Associated with Structural Plasticity

Jeffrey S Burgdorf*, Elizabeth M. Colechio, Nayereh Ghoreishi-Haack, Amanda L. Gross, Christopher S. Rex, Xiao Lei Zhang, Patric K. Stanton, Roger A Kroes, Joseph R Moskal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by deficits in the extinction of aversive memories. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) is the only growth factor that has shown anxiolytic and antidepressant properties in human clinical trials. In animal studies, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP2) shows both IGF1-dependent and IGF1-independent pharmacological effects, and IGFBP2 expression is upregulated by rough-And-Tumble play that induces resilience to stress. Methods: IGFBP2 was evaluated in Porsolt, contextual fear conditioning, and chronic unpredictable stress models of posttraumatic stress disorder. The dependence of IGFBP2 effects on IGF1-and AMPA-receptor activation was tested using selective receptor antagonists. Dendritic spine morphology was measured in the dentate gyrus and the medial prefrontal cortex 24 hours after in vivo dosing. Results: IGFBP2 was 100 times more potent than IGF1 in the Porsolt test. Unlike IGF1, effects of IGFBP2 were not blocked by the IGF1-receptor antagonist JB1, or by the AMPA-receptor antagonist 2,3-Dioxo-6-nitro-1,2,3,4 tetrahydrobenzo[f]quinoxaline-7-sulfonamide (NBQX) in the Porsolt test. IGFBP2 (1 μg/kg) and IGF1 (100 μg/kg i.v.) each facilitated contextual fear extinction and consolidation. Using a chronic unpredictable stress paradigm, IGFBP2 reversed stress-induced effects in the Porsolt, noveltyinduced hypophagia, sucrose preference, and ultrasonic vocalization assays. IGFBP2 also increased mature dendritic spine densities in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus 24 hours postdosing. Conclusions: These data suggest that IGFBP2 has therapeutic-like effects in multiple rat models of posttraumatic stress disorder via a novel IGF1 receptor-independent mechanism. These data also suggest that the long-lasting effects of IGFBP2 may be due to facilitation of structural plasticity at the dendritic spine level. IGFBP2 and mimetics may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-484
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017


  • dendritic spines
  • insulin-like growth factor I
  • insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • resilience.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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