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Journal of Diabetes Research
Volume 2017, Article ID 1403206, 12 pages
Review Article

The Role of Insulin Receptor Isoforms in Diabetes and Its Metabolic and Vascular Complications

1Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II Department, School of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2Health Research Institute of San Carlos Clinic Hospital (IdISSC), Madrid, Spain
3CIBER of Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases, Madrid, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to O. Escribano; se.mcu@abircseo and A. Gómez-Hernández; se.mcu@hzemogla

Received 10 July 2017; Revised 12 September 2017; Accepted 25 September 2017; Published 19 October 2017

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Okamoto

Copyright © 2017 O. Escribano et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The insulin receptor (IR) presents by alternative splicing two isoforms: IRA and IRB. The differential physiological and pathological role of both isoforms is not completely known, and it is determinant the different binding affinity for insulin-like growth factor. IRB is more abundant in adult tissues and it exerts mainly the metabolic actions of insulin, whereas IRA is mainly expressed in fetal and prenatal period and exerts mitogenic actions. However, the change in the expression profile of both IR isoforms and its dysregulation are associated with the development of different pathologies, such as cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. In some of them, there is a significant increase of IRA/IRB ratio conferring a proliferative and migratory advantage to different cell types and favouring IGF-II actions with a sustained detriment in the metabolic effects of insulin. This review discussed specifically the role of IR isoforms as well as IGF-IR in diabetes and its associated complications as obesity and atherosclerosis. Future research with new IR modulators might be considered as possible targets to improve the treatment of diabetes and its associated complications.