The Impact of Growth Hormone and Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) on Systems Related to Cognition
Sammanfattning: Drug dependence is a serious and increasing problem in our society, especially among adolescents. The use of the large variety of substances available can result in a range of physiological and psychological adverse effects on individuals and negative consequences on the society overall. Several different types of drugs induce neurotoxicological damages, which in turn can generate impairment in for example the reward system and affect cognitive parameters. The drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is usually considered a harmless compound among abusers, but has now shown to be highly addictive. Furthermore, GHB can cause memory impairments in both humans and animals. On the contrary, growth hormone (GH) and its main mediator insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) have recently been suggested to improve memory and learning in several studies. The hormones exhibit certain neuroprotective capabilities and have also previously been demonstrated to reverse opioid induced apoptosis in hippocampal cells. These effects and the fact that GHB is shown to increase GH secretion, which attracted considerable attention among body builders, led us to initiate studies on GHB and its impact on relevant systems in the central nervous system (CNS). Thus, the main purpose of the present investigation was to elucidate some of the underlying mechanisms that could account for the effects exerted by GH and GHB in the CNS.We found that a) GH affects the density and functionality of GABAB-receptors and opioid receptors in the male rat brain, b) GHB induces cognitive deficits and down-regulates GABAB-receptors, c) GHB treatment creates an imbalance between the endogenous opioids Met-enkaphalin-Arg6Phe7 (MEAP) and dynorphin B and increases the levels of MEAP in regions of the brain that are associated with drug dependence, and d) GHB affects the expression of IGF-1 receptors but not the plasma levels of IGF-1. In conclusion, the present work demonstrates that GH interacts with both opioid and GABAB-receptors in the male rat CNS and that GHB has an impact on brain regions associated with cognition and the development of dependence. These observations may be of relevance in many aspects related to addiction and might be translated into humans.
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