Differential central pathology and cognitive impairment in pre-diabetic and diabetic mice

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Nov;38(11):2462-75. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 Jun 21.


Although age remains the main risk factor to suffer Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VD), type 2 diabetes (T2D) has turned up as a relevant risk factor for dementia. However, the ultimate underlying mechanisms for this association remain unclear. In the present study we analyzed central nervous system (CNS) morphological and functional consequences of long-term insulin resistance and T2D in db/db mice (leptin receptor KO mice). We also included C57Bl6 mice fed with high fat diet (HFD) and a third group of C57Bl6 streptozotocin (STZ) treated mice. Db/db mice exhibited pathological characteristics that mimic both AD and VD, including age dependent cognitive deterioration, brain atrophy, increased spontaneous hemorrhages and tau phosphorylation, affecting the cortex preferentially. A similar profile was observed in STZ-induced diabetic mice. Moreover metabolic parameters, such as body weight, glucose and insulin levels are good predictors of many of these alterations in db/db mice. In addition, in HFD-induced hyperinsulinemia in C57Bl6 mice, we only observed mild CNS alterations, suggesting that central nervous system dysfunction is associated with well established T2D. Altogether our results suggest that T2D may promote many of the pathological and behavioral alterations observed in dementia, supporting that interventions devoted to control glucose homeostasis could improve dementia progress and prognosis.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Brain atrophy; Spontaneous hemorrhage; Tau phosphorylation; Type 2 diabetes; Vascular dementia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / psychology*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Hemorrhage / complications
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, Leptin / genetics
  • Streptozocin
  • Synapses / pathology
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Mapt protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • leptin receptor, mouse
  • tau Proteins
  • Streptozocin