J Korean Acad Nurs.  2019 Jun;49(3):317-328. 10.4040/jkan.2019.49.3.317.

Effect of Ghrelin on Memory Impairment in a Rat Model of Vascular Dementia

Affiliations
  • 1College of Nursing Science, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea. yj129@khu.ac.kr

Abstract

PURPOSE
The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of ghrelin on memory impairment in a rat model of vascular dementia induced by chronic cerebral hypoperfusion.
METHODS
Randomized controlled groups and the posttest design were used. We established the representative animal model of vascular dementia caused by bilateral common carotid artery occlusion and administered 80 µg/kg ghrelin intraperitoneally for 4 weeks. First, behavioral studies were performed to evaluate spatial memory. Second, we used molecular biology techniques to determine whether ghrelin ameliorates the damage to the structure and function of the white matter and hippocampus, which are crucial to learning and memory.
RESULTS
Ghrelin improved the spatial memory impairment in the Y-maze and Morris water maze test. In the white matter, demyelination and atrophy of the corpus callosum were significantly decreased in the ghrelin-treated group. In the hippocampus, ghrelin increased the length of hippocampal microvessels and reduced the microvessels pathology. Further, we confirmed angiogenesis enhancement through the fact that ghrelin treatment increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-related protein levels, which are the most powerful mediators of angiogenesis in the hippocampus.
CONCLUSION
We found that ghrelin affected the damaged myelin sheaths and microvessels by increasing angiogenesis, which then led to neuroprotection and improved memory function. We suggest that further studies continue to accumulate evidence of the effect of ghrelin. Further, we believe that the development of therapeutic interventions that increase ghrelin may contribute to memory improvement in patients with vascular dementia.

Keyword

Ghrelin; Dementia; Memory Disorders
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