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Amylin-mediated control of glycemia, energy balance, and cognition

Mietlicki-Baase, Elizabeth G.
Physiology & behavior 2016 v.162 pp. 130-140
Alzheimer disease, blood glucose, brain, cognition, comorbidity, diabetes mellitus, energy balance, food intake, gastric emptying, glucagon, glycemic control, leptin, neurodegenerative diseases, obesity, pancreas, risk, satiety, secretion
Amylin, a peptide hormone produced in the pancreas and in the brain, has well-established physiological roles in glycemic regulation and energy balance control. It improves postprandial blood glucose levels by suppressing gastric emptying and glucagon secretion; these beneficial effects have led to the FDA-approved use of the amylin analog pramlintide in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Amylin also acts centrally as a satiation signal, reducing food intake and body weight. The ability of amylin to promote negative energy balance, along with its unique capacity to cooperatively facilitate or enhance the intake- and body weight-suppressive effects of other neuroendocrine signals like leptin, have made amylin a leading target for the development of novel pharmacotherapies for the treatment of obesity. In addition to these more widely studied effects, a growing body of literature suggests that amylin may play a role in processes related to cognition, including the neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although the function of amylin in AD is still unclear, intriguing recent reports indicate that amylin may improve cognitive ability and reduce hallmarks of neurodegeneration in the brain. The frequent comorbidity of diabetes mellitus and obesity, as well as the increased risk for and occurrence of AD associated with these metabolic diseases, suggests that amylin-based pharmaceutical strategies may provide multiple therapeutic benefits. This review will discuss the known effects of amylin on glycemic regulation, energy balance control, and cognitive/motivational processes. Particular focus will be devoted to the current and/or potential future clinical use of amylin pharmacotherapies for the treatment of diseases in each of these realms.