Research Topic

Metabolic Mediators and Synapses: Linking Body Periphery to Neural Plasticity

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Synaptic transmission and neural plasticity are instrumental processes for the adaptation of brain circuits and function to environmental changes. In order to accomplish this task, a wide variety of molecules act as messengers to modulate neuronal activity. Among them, factors whose primary function is ...

Synaptic transmission and neural plasticity are instrumental processes for the adaptation of brain circuits and function to environmental changes. In order to accomplish this task, a wide variety of molecules act as messengers to modulate neuronal activity. Among them, factors whose primary function is metabolic homeostasis are emerging as key players in the brain-environment interplay, and an incomplete list includes insulin, leptin and ghrelin, to cite just a few. The effect of these metabolic messengers is not restricted to affecting the activity of neurons involved in energy homeostasis and food intake but, strikingly, extends to brain structures and circuits – such as the hippocampus – that are at the root of learning and memory. Under this perspective, understanding the precise mechanisms of metabolic modulation of neuronal activity and plasticity has a profound importance not only for increasing our knowledge on brain physiology, but also for its implications in neuropathology, with particular regard to neurodegenerative diseases.

Based on this background, this Research Topic aims at selecting and gathering novel research work on the interaction between metabolic messengers and neurons. Specifically, we aim at giving a wide-field and up-to-date view of progress in this field, provided by papers focusing on:

- effect of environmental stimuli on brain-metabolism interplay;
- novel functions of metabolic messengers affecting neural circuits;
- action of metabolic messengers on synaptic transmission and plasticity;
- modulation of behavior, either nutrition-related or, more generally, affecting learning and memory;
- elucidation of mechanisms of brain resistance to metabolic messengers, e.g., as a result of altered energy intake or of metabolic dyshomeostasis;
- role of metabolic messengers in modulating the severity of the pathological phenotype in animal models of neurological diseases.

Research papers using an integrated approach, comprising functional and morphological, as well as molecular techniques are highly appreciated and welcomed. In addition, submission of critical reviews on the status and perspectives in the field is encouraged. Importantly, the Topic aims at including research focusing on diverse brain areas, including those directly involved in metabolic homeostasis, but with a special interest on structures required for learning, memory and sensory processing.


Keywords: Synaptic transmission, hypothalamus, hippocampus, cortex, learning and memory


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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