Regulatory effects of galanin system on development of several age-related chronic diseases

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Age is a major risk factor for developing chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's disease. The rapidly increase in the morbidity of these age-related chronic diseases is becoming a global problem. Although our understanding of these age-related diseases has tremendously been improved in recent years, certain aspects of their etiology and relative regulatory factors still remain elusive to clinicians and researchers. Emerging evidences suggest that neuropeptide galanin is involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's disease. This article summarized relevant results of our and others studies to highlight the relationship between the galanin system and these age-related chronic diseases. On the one hand, a high galanin expression was found in subjects with type 2 diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's disease. On the other hand, current data suggest that galanin and its agonists (M617, M1145 and M1153) manifest the characters of anti-insulin resistance, anti-Alzheimer's disease and ameliorate or reinforce depression-like behavior. Specially, activation of GAL2 can alleviate those disease features in human and rodent models. These are helpful for us to understand the roles of galanin system in the pathogenesis of these age-related chronic diseases and to provide useful hints for the development of novel approaches to treat these complex diseases.

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