Epidemiological and basic science evidence suggest a possible shared pathophysiology between type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has even been hypothesized that AD might be 'type 3 diabetes'. The present review summarizes some of the evidence for the possible link, putative biochemical pathways and ongoing clinical trials of antidiabetic drugs in AD patients. The primary and review literature were searched for articles published in peer-reviewed sources that were related to a putative connection between T2DM and AD. In addition, public sources of clinical trials were searched for the relevant information regarding the testing of antidiabetic drugs in AD patients. The evidence for a connection between T2DM and AD is based upon a variety of diverse studies, but definitive biochemical mechanisms remain unknown. Additional study is needed to prove the existence or the extent of a link between T2DM and AD, but sufficient evidence exists to warrant further study. Presently, AD patients might benefit from treatment with pharmacotherapy currently used to treat T2DM and clinical trials of such therapy are currently underway.
© 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.