How does diabetes accelerate Alzheimer disease pathology?

Nat Rev Neurol. 2010 Oct;6(10):551-9. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2010.130. Epub 2010 Sep 14.


Diabetes and Alzheimer disease (AD)-two age-related diseases-are both increasing in prevalence, and numerous studies have demonstrated that patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing AD compared with healthy individuals. The underlying biological mechanisms that link the development of diabetes with AD are not fully understood. Abnormal protein processing, abnormalities in insulin signaling, dysregulated glucose metabolism, oxidative stress, the formation of advanced glycation end products, and the activation of inflammatory pathways are features common to both diseases. Hypercholesterolemia is another factor that has received attention, owing to its potential association with diabetes and AD. This Review summarizes the mechanistic pathways that might link diabetes and AD. An understanding of this complex interaction is necessary for the development of novel drug therapies and lifestyle guidelines aimed at the treatment and/or prevention of these diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Models, Biological


  • Insulin
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinases