The insulin-like growth factors, isolated from plasma, are structurally and functionally related to insulin but have a much higher growth-promoting activity. May be a physiological regulator of [1-14C]-2-deoxy-D-glucose (2DG) transport and glycogen synthesis in osteoblasts. Stimulates glucose transport in bone-derived osteoblastic (PyMS) cells and is effective at much lower concentrations than insulin, not only regarding glycogen and DNA synthesis but also with regard to enhancing glucose uptake. May play a role in synapse maturation. Ca(2+)-dependent exocytosis of IGF1 is required for sensory perception of smell in the olfactory bulb. Acts as a ligand for IGF1R. Binds to the alpha subunit of IGF1R, leading to the activation of the intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity which autophosphorylates tyrosine residues in the beta subunit thus initiatiating a cascade of down-stream signaling events leading to activation of the PI3K-AKT/PKB and the Ras-MAPK pathways. Binds to integrins ITGAV:ITGB3 and ITGA6:ITGB4. Its binding to integrins and subsequent ternary complex formation with integrins and IGFR1 are essential for IGF1 signaling. Induces the phosphorylation and activation of IGFR1, MAPK3/ERK1, MAPK1/ERK2 and AKT1.