Metabolic hormones mediate cognition

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2022 Jul:66:101009. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2022.101009. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


Recent biochemical and behavioural evidence indicates that metabolic hormones not only regulate energy intake and nutrient content, but also modulate plasticity and cognition in the central nervous system. Disruptions in metabolic hormone signalling may provide a link between metabolic syndromes like obesity and diabetes, and cognitive impairment. For example, altered metabolic homeostasis in obesity is a strong determinant of the severity of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative disease. Here we review the evidence that eating behaviours and metabolic hormones-particularly ghrelin, leptin, and insulin-are key players in the delicate regulation of neural plasticity and cognition. Caloric restriction and antidiabetic therapies, both of which affect metabolic hormone levels can restore metabolic homeostasis and enhance cognitive function. Thus, metabolic hormone pathways provide a promising target for the treatment of cognitive decline.

Keywords: Caloric restriction; Ghrelin; Insulin; Learning; Leptin; Memory.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Ghrelin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases*
  • Obesity


  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Leptin