Kalendarium

Growth hormone in the brain: Focus on cognitive function

  • Datum: 2017-05-05 kl 09:15
  • Plats: B42, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala
  • Föreläsare: Brolin, Erika
  • Webbsida
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för farmaceutisk biovetenskap
  • Kontaktperson: Brolin, Erika
  • Disputation

The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate the impact of the somatotrophic axis (i.e. GH/IGF-1 axis) in rodents with cognitive deficiencies induced by diabetes or long-term drug exposure. For the first time cognitive impairments were characterised in diabetic mice using a spatial learning and memory task called the Barnes maze (BM).

Cognitive impairments are an increasing health problem worldwide. In the developed countries, the average life expectancy has dramatically increased over the last decades, and with an elderly population more cases of cognitive impairments appear. Age, genetics, and different medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, and substance use disorders may all contribute to declined cognitive ability. Physiological functions also decrease with increasing age, as does the activity of the growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) axis. Interestingly, both GH and IGF-1 are recognised for their neuroprotective effects and cognitive enhancement. The overall aim of this thesis was to investigate the impact of the somatotrophic axis (i.e. GH/IGF-1 axis) in rodents with cognitive deficiencies induced by diabetes or long-term drug exposure. For the first time cognitive impairments were characterised in diabetic mice using a spatial learning and memory task called the Barnes maze (BM). In diabetic mice, impaired learning in the BM was associated with decreased expression of the GH receptor (GHR) in the frontal cortex, a region important for e.g. working memory. Treatment with GH reversed certain cognitive impairments seen in diabetic animals. In rats treated with gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a significant decrease of Igf1 mRNA expression in the frontal cortex was observed. This observation may explain the impaired cognitive function previously seen following GHB administration. Furthermore, rats exposed to chronic morphine delivered in mini-osmotic pumps displayed memory impairments in the Morris water maze (MWM), an effect that seems to be associated with the composition of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor complex in the frontal cortex. In conclusion, the result strengthens the evidence for GH being a cognitive enhancer. Moreover, the result within this thesis identifies the frontal cortex as an important brain region, where gene expression related to the somatotrophic system is affected in rodents with cognitive impairments. The thesis especially emphasises the importance of the local somatotrophic system in the brain with regard to cognitive function.