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      Neuroendocrine Profiles in Galanin-Overexpressing and Knockout Mice

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          The peptide galanin has been implicated in the neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction and energy balance. To gain more insight into the functional significance of galanin in these processes, we studied the phenotype of mice that either overexpress galanin in the brain under the control of the dopamine β-hydroxylase promoter (GALTG) or have a complete absence of galanin expression (GALKO). Both GALTGs and GALKOs had body weights and feeding patterns that were indistinguishable from wild-type (WT) control animals, and both genotypes were reproductively competent. Serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone were significantly higher in GALKOs and slightly lower in GALTGs than in their respective WT controls. Both GALTGs and GALKOs showed a normal response to fasting, but when GALKO mice were treated with leptin during fasting, levels of corticosterone and testosterone were altered compared to WT mice. In addition, GALKOs were more sensitive than WT controls to the effects of chronic leptin treatment on body weight and fat pad mass, whereas GALTGs showed responses to this metabolic challenge that were indistinguishable from their controls. When galanin was administered centrally, GALKOs had lower testosterone and corticosterone levels than did WT mice. These results suggest that the complete loss of galanin leads to significant alterations in neuroendocrine homeostasis, whereas targeted overexpression of galanin in the brain does not interfere with normal neuroendocrine function.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Interacting Appetite-Regulating Pathways in the Hypothalamic Regulation of Body Weight

           S P Kalra (1999)
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            Galanin transgenic mice display cognitive and neurochemical deficits characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.

            Galanin is a neuropeptide with multiple inhibitory actions on neurotransmission and memory. In Alzheimer's disease (AD), increased galanin-containing fibers hyperinnervate cholinergic neurons within the basal forebrain in association with a decline in cognition. We generated transgenic mice (GAL-tg) that overexpress galanin under the control of the dopamine beta-hydroxylase promoter to study the neurochemical and behavioral sequelae of a mouse model of galanin overexpression in AD. Overexpression of galanin was associated with a reduction in the number of identifiable neurons producing acetylcholine in the horizontal limb of the diagonal band. Behavioral phenotyping indicated that GAL-tgs displayed normal general health and sensory and motor abilities; however, GAL-tg mice showed selective performance deficits on the Morris spatial navigational task and the social transmission of food preference olfactory memory test. These results suggest that elevated expression of galanin contributes to the neurochemical and cognitive impairments characteristic of AD.
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              Galanin regulates the postnatal survival of a subset of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons.

              The neuropeptide galanin colocalizes with choline acetyltransferase, the synthetic enzyme for acetylcholine, in a subset of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain of rodents. Chronic intracerebroventricular infusion of nerve growth factor induces a 3- to 4-fold increase in galanin gene expression in these neurons. Here we report the loss of a third of cholinergic neurons in the medial septum and vertical limb diagonal band of the basal forebrain of adult mice carrying a targeted loss-of-function mutation in the galanin gene. These deficits are associated with a 2-fold increase in the number of apoptotic cells in the forebrain at postnatal day seven. This loss is associated with marked age-dependent deficits in stimulated acetylcholine release, performance in the Morris water maze, and induction of long-term potentiation in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. These data provide unexpected evidence that galanin plays a trophic role to regulate the development and function of a subset of septohippocampal cholinergic neurons.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2003
                08 July 2003
                : 77
                : 6
                : 354-366
                aNeurobiology and Behavior Program, Departments of bPhysiology and Biophysics, and cObstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA; dDepartment of Medicine, Bristol University, Bristol, UK
                71308 Neuroendocrinology 2003;77:354–366
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 3, References: 52, Pages: 13


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