Posted on Nov 23, 2012, 6 a.m.
Salk Institute (US) scientists reveal a physiological mechanism that may link diabetes to Alzheimer's Disease.
A number of previous studies suggest that insulin resistance may cause a buildup of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, and thus some investigators posit a link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease. Pamela Maher, from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies (California, USA), and colleagues employed a mouse model of Type-1 diabetes: one group of animals, known as SAMP8 mice, underwent accelerated aging and developed early deterioration in learning and memory, as well as a number of brain alterations similar to those found in Alzheimer's. The other set, SAMR1 mice, which in this study came from the same gene pool as the SAMP8 mice, age normally. Using these mice, the team investigated Type-1 diabetes interacts with age to contribute to Alzheimer's-related pathology: they showed that Type-1 diabetes elicits a wide range of pathological changes in the brains of both strains of mice, which are exacerbated by premature aging. The study authors write that: “. These data suggest that aberrant glucose metabolism potentiates the aging phenotype in old mice and contributes to early stage central nervous system pathology in younger animals,” thus positioning this study as the first to show that diabetes enhances the development of aging features that may underlie early pathological events in Alzheimer's Disease.
Antonio Currais, Marguerite Prior, David Lo, Corinne Jolivalt, David Schubert, Pamela Maher. “Diabetes exacerbates amyloid and neurovascular pathology in aging-accelerated mice.” Aging Cell, 1 Oct. 2012.