Link between brain insulin resistance, neuronal stress in worsening Alzheimer's disease

June 26, 2012

Rhode Island Hospital researcher Suzanne de la Monte, M.D., has found a link between brain insulin resistance (diabetes) and two other key mediators of neuronal injury that help Alzheimer's disease (AD) to propagate. The research found that once AD is established, therapeutic efforts must also work to reduce toxin production in the brain. The study, Dysfunctional Pro-Ceramide, ER Stress, and Insulin/IGF Signaling Networks with Progression of Alzheimer's Disease, is published in the June 22, 2012, supplement of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common degenerative , and more than 115 million new cases are projected worldwide in the next 40 years. There is clinical and experimental evidence that treatment with insulin or insulin sensitizer agents can enhance cognitive function and in some circumstances help slow the rate of in AD. Alzheimer's and other destroy the brain until the patients finally succumb. In order to effectively halt the process of neurodegeneration, the forces that advance and perpetuate the disease, particularly with regard to the progressive worsening of brain insulin/IGF resistance, must be understood.

"Brain insulin resistance (diabetes) is very much like regular diabetes," de la Monte said. "Since the underlying problems continue to be just about the same, we believe that the development of new therapies would be applicable for all types of diabetes, including Alzheimer's disease, which we refer to as Type III diabetes."

She continued, "This study points out that once AD is established, therapeutic efforts should target several different pathways—not just one. The reason is that a positive feedback loop gets going, making AD progress. We have to break the vicious cycle. Restoring insulin responsiveness and insulin depletion will help, but we need to reduce brain stress and repair the metabolic problems that cause the brain to produce toxins."

Ultimately, these findings will help to expand ways to both detect and treat AD.

Growing evidence supports the concept that AD is fundamentally a metabolic syndrome that leads to abnormalities linked to brain insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) resistance. In AD, brain insulin and IGF resistance and deficiencies begin early and worsen with severity of the disease. The rationale behind the progression of the disease is that insulin-resistance dysregulates lipid metabolism and promotes accumulation, thereby increasing inflammation and lipid metabolism, causing toxic ceramides to accumulate in the brain. The end result is increased stress that threatens the survival and function of neurons in the brain.

The present study was designed to gain a better understanding of how brain becomes progressive and contributes to the neurodegeneration in AD, focusing on the roles of ceramides and stress. The researchers studied the same brain samples used previously to demonstrate progressive impairments in brain insulin/IGF signaling with increasing severity of AD.

Explore further: New evidence links Alzheimer's disease and diabetes

Related Stories

New evidence links Alzheimer's disease and diabetes

March 20, 2012
An emerging body of research suggests that Alzheimer's disease may be linked to insulin resistance, constituting a third type of diabetes. This model is based on several observations including an increased risk of developing ...

Another potential risk factor for developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease in women

January 2, 2012
A hormone derived from visceral fat called adiponectin may play a role as a risk factor for development of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD) in women, according to a study published Online First by the Archives ...

Study evaluates intranasal insulin therapy for adults with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's

September 12, 2011
Intranasal insulin therapy appears to provide some benefit for cognitive function in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease, according to a report published Online First today by Archives of ...

Recommended for you

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.