Several studies have demonstrated an association between polymorphisms in the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) gene and IGF-1 serum levels. IGF-1 levels have been associated with cognitive functioning in older persons and growth hormone deficient patients. The present study investigates whether IGF-1 polymorphisms, IGF-1 levels, and cognition are interconnected in healthy adults. Data of 277 participants (mean age: 42.4 years) of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study on IGF-1 promoter polymorphisms, IGF-1 serum level, spatial working memory (SWM), paired associate learning (PAL), and IQ tests were analyzed. (M)ANOVAs were applied to confirm the associations between IGF-1 polymorphisms and IGF-1 levels and between IGF-1 levels and cognition. Three groups were distinguished based on specific IGF-1 polymorphism alleles: a homozygote 192 bp/192 bp genotype, a heterozygote 192 bp/x genotype, and a noncarrier x/x genotype. Although different IGF-1 levels were found for the three genotypes, performance on all cognitive tasks and IQ measures was similar. Despite the associations between IGF-1 polymorphisms and IGF-1 levels, no association was found between cognition and IGF-1 levels. It seems that IGF-1 does not play a role in the cognitive performance of healthy middle-aged adults. Possible, IGF-1 fulfills a more developmental and protective role in cognition which becomes apparent during childhood, old-age, or disease.
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