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J Alzheimers Dis. 2002 Dec;4(6):487-96.

The glucagon-like peptides: a new genre in therapeutic targets for intervention in Alzheimer's disease.

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Laboratory of Neuroscience, Section of Drug Design & Development, Gerontology Research Center, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, 5600 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Glucagon-like peptide-1 (7-36)-amide (GLP-1) is an insulinotropic hormone, secreted from the enteroendocrine L cells of the intestinal tract in response to nutrient ingestion. It enhances pancreatic islet beta-cell proliferation and glucose-dependent insulin secretion, and lowers blood glucose in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. GLP-1 receptors, which are coupled to the cyclic AMP second messenger pathway, are expressed throughout the brains of rodents and humans. The chemoarchitecture of receptor distribution in the brain correlates well with a central role for GLP-1 in the regulation of food intake and response to aversive stress. We have recently reported that GLP-1 and several longer acting analogs that bind at the GLP-1 receptor, possess neurotrophic properties, and offer protection against glutamate-induced apoptosis and oxidative injury in cultured neuronal cells. Furthermore, GLP-1 can modify processing of the amyloid beta- protein precursor in cell culture and dose-dependently reduces amyloid beta-peptide levels in the brain in vivo. As such, this review discusses the known role of GLP-1 within the central nervous system, and considers the potential of GLP-1 and analogs as novel therapeutic targets for intervention in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and potentially other central and peripheral neurodegenerative conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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