A review on insulin presence and function in brain


  • Katayoun Sedaghat Department of Physiology, Semnan University of Medical Sciences, Semnan, Iran




Insulin, Brain, Metabolism, Cognition, Neurodegenerative, Depression


Hormones have major role in maintaining the homeostasis of the body and mental functions. One of the crucial hormones that act to regulate the metabolism and growth is insulin. Insulin activity in the periphery has been the subject of study since long time ago, though, beginning to understand the central activity of insulin is rather recent and because of complexity of actions and interference with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and mood disorders, like anxiety and depression, it is considered very crucial hormone in the maintenance of the mental health. This mini-review will discuss briefly the recent main aspects of insulin transfer to the brain, receptor and mediators, signaling pathways with particular attention to neural system and its role in cognitive and emotional processing in brain. Insulin is an endocrine hormone with receptor distribution in different parts of brain and has role in various neural functions such as; growth factor, modulating learning or memory, mood, neural growth and survival, also controlling neurotransmitters functions in different brain regions. Insulin regulates metabolic homeostasis in brain through complex routes, which inevitably makes it involved with some neurodegenerative or affective disorders, that raises its importance for more serious studies.


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