An update on galanin and spexin and their potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders

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Spexin (SPX) and galanin (GAL) are two neuropeptides widely expressed in the central nervous system as well as within peripheral tissues in humans and other species. SPX and GAL mediate their biological actions through binding and activation of galanin receptors (GALR), namely GALR1, GALR2 and GLAR3. GAL appears to trigger all three galanin receptors, whereas SPX interacts more specifically with GALR2 and GLAR3. Whilst the biological effects of GAL have been well-described over the years, in-depth knowledge of physiological action profile of SPX is still in its preliminary stages. However, it is recognised that both peptides play a significant role in modulating overall energy homeostasis, suggesting possible therapeutically exploitable benefits in diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Accordingly, although both peptides activate GALR's, it appears GAL may be more useful for the treatment of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, whereas SPX may find therapeutic application for obesity and obesity-driven forms of diabetes. This short narrative review aims to provide an up-to-date account of SPX and GAL biology together with putative approaches on exploiting these peptides for the treatment of metabolic disorders. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.]
Original languageEnglish
Article number171096
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Early online date14 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported by the Northern Ireland (UK), Department for the Economy and Ulster University (UK), Strategic Funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors


  • Spexin
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Galanin
  • Metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Appetite


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