Impaired Insulin Signaling and Mechanisms of Memory Loss

Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2014;121:413-49. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800101-1.00013-2.


Insulin is secreted from the β-cells of the pancreas and helps maintain glucose homeostasis. Although secreted peripherally, insulin also plays a profound role in cognitive function. Increasing evidence suggests that insulin signaling in the brain is necessary to maintain health of neuronal cells, promote learning and memory, decrease oxidative stress, and ultimately increase neuronal survival. This chapter summarizes the different facets of insulin signaling necessary for learning and memory and additionally explores the association between cognitive impairment and central insulin resistance. The role of impaired insulin signaling in the advancement of cognitive dysfunction is relevant to the current debate of whether the shared pathophysiological mechanisms between diabetes and cognitive impairment implicate a direct relationship. Here, we summarize a vast amount of literature that suggests a strong association between impaired brain insulin signaling and cognitive impairment.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; IGF-1; central insulin resistance; cognitive impairment; diabetes; neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism*
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Insulin