Albendazole reverses IGF-1 lowering due to helminthic infections
Helminthic infections decrease the levels of free insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a marker of nutritional status in adults, a recent Indonesia study has found. Albendazole, an antihelminthic agent, counters this effect.
Through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, the researchers measured the levels of free IGF-1 and its major binding protein, IGFBP-3, in 1,604 participants. Measurements were collected before and after four rounds of treatment with 400-mg/day albendazole or matching placebo. Helminth infection was determined using microscopy or polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
After exclusions and randomization, 768 participants were given albendazole and 836 received placebo. The baseline percentage of patients with helminth infection was comparable between groups, both when microscopy (42.0 percent vs 44.2 percent) or PCR (54.7 percent vs 54.6 percent) were used.
In addition, serum levels of free IGF-1 were significantly lower among infected participants. This remained true even after adjusting for demographic factors, body mass index (BMI), fasting insulin concentration, and the inflammatory marker high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. However, the IGF-1 difference was only apparent when infections were determined using PCR, and not when microscopy was used.
After the intervention, both PCR and microscopy detected significant reductions in helminth infections. This was accompanied by a spike in free IGF-1. In the overall population, an IGF-1 increase of 0.031 ng/mL (95 percent confidence interval, 0.004–0.057; p=0.024) was detected, but this was not accompanied by a similar change in IFGBP-3 (p=0.968). The primary findings were unchanged when adjusting for BMI and fasting insulin.