Send to

Choose Destination
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Apr;93(4):1339-44. doi: 10.1210/jc.2007-2606. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Differential sensitivity of men and women to anorexigenic and memory-improving effects of intranasal insulin.

Author information

Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, Hs 23a, 23538 Lübeck, Germany.



Brain insulin is critically involved in the regulation of body weight and memory processing. Long-term administration of intranasal insulin reduces body weight in men, but not in women, while improving hippocampus-dependent memory processing in both genders.


Our objectives were to assess the effects of a single dose of intranasal insulin on food intake and memory function in men and women, and to determine any gender differences.


A total of 32 healthy, normal-weight subjects (14 men, 18 women) were intranasally administered 160 IU regular human insulin or vehicle before performing a hippocampus-dependent two-dimensional-object location task, a working memory task (digit span), and a hippocampus-independent mirror tracing task. Subsequently, food intake from an ad libitum breakfast buffet was measured.


Insulin treatment decreased food intake in men but not in women (difference to placebo condition, men: -192.57 +/- 78.48 kcal, P < 0.03; women: 18.54 +/- 42.89 kcal, P > 0.67). In contrast, hippocampus-dependent memory and working memory were improved in women (P < 0.03, P < 0.05, respectively), whereas men did not benefit from acute insulin treatment (P > 0.17, P > 0.20). Performance on the hippocampus-independent mirror tracing task was not affected by insulin in women or men.


In accordance with animal data, results indicate that men are more sensitive than women to the acute anorexigenic effect of central nervous insulin signaling, whereas insulin's beneficial effect on hippocampus-dependent memory functions is more pronounced in women. Our findings provide support for the notion of a fundamental gender difference in central nervous insulin signaling that pertains to the regulation of energy homeostasis and memory functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center