Brain insulin signaling: a key component of cognitive processes and a potential basis for cognitive impairment in type 2 diabetes

Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2011 Oct;96(3):432-42. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2011.08.005. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Abstract

Understanding of the role of insulin in the brain has gradually expanded, from initial conceptions of the brain as insulin-insensitive through identification of a role in regulation of feeding, to recent demonstration of insulin as a key component of hippocampal memory processes. Conversely, systemic insulin resistance such as that seen in type 2 diabetes is associated with a range of cognitive and neural deficits. Here we review the evidence for insulin as a cognitive and neural modulator, including potential effector mechanisms, and examine the impact that type 2 diabetes has on these mechanisms in order to identify likely bases for the cognitive impairments seen in type 2 diabetic patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Rats

Substances

  • Insulin