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Enzyme once thought harmful to Alzheimers patients now appears key to future treatment

these actions of galanin are specific to cholinergic and not GABAergic.

Conclusion
On the basis of galanin-induced inhibition of ACh release, it has been hypothesized that the increased galanin innervation of cholinergic neurons might play an important role in worsening cognitive function of Alzheimer's disease patients.

An Alternate Theory
The research findings from this Canadian study suggest another alternative to that theory. Galanin overexpression in Alzheimer's disease may serve a compensatory role by enhancing the release of ACh from the remaining cholinergic basal forebrain neurons. This notion is supported by the observation that nerve growth factor, which rescues degenerating cholinergic neurons and increases ACh turnover by upregulating ChAT synthesis also induces galanin gene expression in the cholinergic basal forebrain . This recommends that an increase in galanin, through its excitatory effects on the cholinergic basal forebrain neurons, could cause increased release of ACh, which would be entirely consistent with the effects of nerve growth factor on cholinergic function.

An important consequence of the findings presented here relates to the development of galanin antagonists, which have been promoted as a possible treatment option for AD. Our findings should inject a note of caution in viewing such antagonists as "neuroprotective," a notion that is based on their potential to reverse the inhibitory effects of galanin, which may be receptor and region specific in the central nervous system.

Source
February edition of the Journal of Neurophysiology

The American Physiological Society (APS) was founded in 1887 to foster basic and applied science, much of it relating to human health. The Bethesda, MD-based Society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 3,800 articles in its 14 peer-reviewed journals every year.


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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-527-7357
American Physiological Society
14-Mar-2002


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