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Does Ghrelin Affect Memory?

Victoria Tencheva, Mihaela Zaharieva, Jordan Kozhuharov, Pamela Dragieva, Irina Stoyanova

Abstract

Introduction: Ghrelin (Ghr) is an acylated 28-amino acid  peptide initially related to the regulation of food intake, body weight, adiposity and glucose metabolism. However, Ghr-ergic neurons were also detected in the central nervous system (CNS) – in the hypothalamic arcuate, paraventricular and supraoptic nucleus and the ependimal layer of the third ventricle.

There are two forms of ghrelin: acylated, the receptor of which is a growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR1a), and des - acyl Ghr, the receptor of which has not been identified yet.

Materials and Methods: Our study is based on a literature survey (PubMed) using the following  keywords: ghrelin, neurodegenerative diseases, memory, synaptophysin.

Results: As previously reported, Ghr participates in the regulation of some high brain functions such as sleep-wakefulness, learning and memory formation. Animal studies show that acyl-Ghr has a stimulating effect on neuronal activity and synaptic plasticity, including changes in synapse morphology and number. Ghr increases dendritic spine formation and synaptogenesis, as well as earlier onset of neuronal activity and generation of mature network activity patterns. The synaptogenic effect is demonstrated by the increased levels of the presynaptic marker synaptophysin. Additionally, Ghr is beneficial for the recovery of memory, mood and cognitive dysfunction after stroke or traumatic brain injury. On the other hand, chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease are characterized by synaptic and neuronal loss in motor, sensory or cognitive systems, leading to cognitive and motor decline. Furthermore, it has been found that there is a strong correlation between metabolic changes and neurodegenaration.

Conclusions: The results from this literature researches suggest that acyl-ghrelin could be used as a potential new pharmaceutical approach to the neurodegenerative disorders.


Keywords

ghrelin, neurodegenerative diseases, memory, synaptophysin


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