In the last decade, it has become clear that the neuropeptide “ghrelin” and its principal receptor have a large impact on anxiety and stress. Our recent studies have uncovered a link between plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and ghrelin. BChE actually turns out to be the key regulator of this peptide. This article reviews our recent work on manipulating ghrelin levels in mouse blood and brain by long term elevation of BChE, leading to sustained decrease of ghrelin. That effect in turn was found to reduce stress-induced aggression in group caged mice. Positive consequences were fewer bite wounds and longer survival times. No adverse effects were observed. Further exploration may pave the way for BChE-based treatment of anxiety in humans.
- Long term reduction of stress hormone
- Mouse models
- Stress disorders
- Viral gene transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology