Background: Inflammation has been implicated as a pathogenetic factor in Alzheimer disease, possibly via effects on beta-amyloid (Abeta). Hyperinsulinemia induces inflammation and is a risk factor for Alzheimer disease. Thus, insulin abnormalities may contribute to Alzheimer disease pathophysiology through effects on the inflammatory network.
Objectives: To determine the effects of induced hyperinsulinemia with euglycemia on Abeta, transthyretin, and inflammatory markers and modulators in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Design: Randomized crossover trial.
Setting: Veterans Affairs hospital clinical research unit.
Participants: Sixteen healthy adults ranging from 55 to 81 years of age (mean age, 68.2 years).
Interventions: On separate mornings, fasting participants received randomized infusions of saline or insulin (1.0 mU.kg(-1).min(-1)) with variable dextrose levels to maintain euglycemia, achieving plasma insulin levels typical of insulin resistance. Plasma and CSF were collected after an approximately 105-minute infusion.
Main outcome measures: Plasma and CSF levels of interleukin 1alpha, interleukin 1beta, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor alpha, F2-isoprostane (CSF only), Abeta, norepinephrine, transthyretin, and apolipoprotein E.
Results: Insulin increased CSF levels of F2-isoprostane and cytokines (both P<.01), as well as plasma and CSF levels of Abeta42 (both P<.05). The changes in CSF levels of Abeta42 were predicted by increased F2-isoprostane and cytokine levels (both P<.01) and reduced transthyretin levels (P = .02). Increased inflammation was modulated by insulin-induced changes in CSF levels of norepinephrine and apolipoprotein E (both P<.05).
Conclusion: Moderate hyperinsulinemia can elevate inflammatory markers and Abeta42 in the periphery and the brain, thereby potentially increasing the risk of Alzheimer disease.