Effect of neuropeptides on cognitive function

Exp Gerontol. Jul-Oct 1997;32(4-5):451-69. doi: 10.1016/s0531-5565(96)00159-3.


Recent evidence indicates that, in addition to the involvement of cholinergic and other neurotransmitter systems, various neuropeptides that occur in cortical and subcortical brain regions have a role in cognitive behavior. This evidence results largely from behavioral studies in rodents and other animals, following peptide administration and only in a very few cases from similar studies in human subjects. Several neuropeptides studied appear to enhance or produce changes conducive to improvement in cognitive performance and these include vasopressin, corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), somatostatin, substance P, neuropeptide Y, and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone (TRH), while one peptide, galanin, has been reported to inhibit cognitive processes. Of those neuropeptides that improve performance, only TRH has been shown recently to attenuate the memory impairment of human subjects and Alzheimer patients treated with an anticholinergic drug, and this review describes a series of complimentary studies in adult and aged rodents that contribute to our understanding of the possible mechanisms involved in the role of TRH in cognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / psychology
  • Animals
  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology*
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology


  • Neuropeptides
  • Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone