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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2015, Article ID 657928, 10 pages
Review Article

Modulation of Hippocampal Neural Plasticity by Glucose-Related Signaling

Institute of Human Physiology, Medical School, Università Cattolica, Largo Francesco Vito 1, 00168 Rome, Italy

Received 30 December 2014; Revised 2 April 2015; Accepted 5 April 2015

Academic Editor: Michel Baudry

Copyright © 2015 Marco Mainardi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hormones and peptides involved in glucose homeostasis are emerging as important modulators of neural plasticity. In this regard, increasing evidence shows that molecules such as insulin, insulin-like growth factor-I, glucagon-like peptide-1, and ghrelin impact on the function of the hippocampus, which is a key area for learning and memory. Indeed, all these factors affect fundamental hippocampal properties including synaptic plasticity (i.e., synapse potentiation and depression), structural plasticity (i.e., dynamics of dendritic spines), and adult neurogenesis, thus leading to modifications in cognitive performance. Here, we review the main mechanisms underlying the effects of glucose metabolism on hippocampal physiology. In particular, we discuss the role of these signals in the modulation of cognitive functions and their potential implications in dysmetabolism-related cognitive decline.