Galanin-like Peptide (GALP) is a Hypothalamic Regulator of Energy Homeostasis and Reproduction

Catherine Lawrence, University of Manchester
Gregory S. Fraley, Hope College


Galanin-like peptide (GALP) was discovered in 1999 in the porcine hypothalamus and was found to be a 60 amino acid neuropeptide. GALP shares sequence homology to galanin (1-13) in position 9-21 and can bind to, as well as activate, the three galanin receptor subtypes (GalR1-3). GALP-expressing cells are limited, and are mainly found in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) and the posterior pituitary. GALP-positive neurons in the ARC project to several brain regions where they appear to make contact with multiple neuromodulators. These neuromodulators are involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis and reproduction, anatomical evidence that suggests a role for GALP in these physiological functions. In support of this idea, GALP gene expression is regulated by several factors that reflect metabolic state including the metabolic hormones leptin and insulin, thyroid hormones, and blood glucose. Considerable evidence now exists to support the hypothesis that GALP has a role in the regulation of energy homeostasis and reproduction; and, that GALP's role may be independent of the known galanin receptors. In this review, we (1) provide an overview of the distribution of GALP, and discuss the potential relationship between GALP and other neuromodulators of energy homeostasis and reproduction, (2) discuss the metabolic factors that regulate GALP expression, (3) review the evidence for the role of GALP in energy homeostasis and reproduction, (4) discuss the potential downstream mediators and mechanisms underlying GALP's effects, and (5) discuss the possibility that GALP may mediate its effects via an as yet unidentified GALP-specific receptor. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.