, Volume 65, Issue 12, pp 1842-1853
Date: 27 May 2008

Galanin – 25 years with a multitalented neuropeptide

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Galanin (GAL) and GAL receptors (GALRs) are overexpressed in degenerating brain regions associated with cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The functional consequences of GAL plasticity in AD are unclear. GAL inhibits cholinergic transmission in the hippocampus and impairs spatial memory in rodent models, suggesting GAL overexpression exacerbates cognitive impairment in AD. By contrast, gene expression profiling of individual cholinergic basal forebrain (CBF) neurons aspirated from AD tissue revealed that GAL hyperinnervation positively regulatesmRNAs that promote CBF neuronal function and survival. GAL also exerts neuroprotective effects in rodent models of neurotoxicity. These data support the growing concept that GAL overexpression preserves CBF neuron function which in turn may slow the onset of AD symptoms. Further elucidation of GAL activity in selectively vulnerable brain regions will help gauge the therapeutic potential of GALR ligands for the treatment of AD. (Part of a Multi-author Review)