Inflammation, defective insulin signaling, and neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimers Dement. 2014 Feb;10(1 Suppl):S76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2013.12.010.


A link between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and metabolic disorders has been established, with patients with type 2 diabetes at increased risk of developing AD and vice versa. The incidence of metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes is increasing at alarming rates worldwide, primarily as a result of poor lifestyle habits. In parallel, as the world population ages, the prevalence of AD, the most common form of dementia in the elderly, also increases. In addition to their epidemiologic and clinical association, mounting recent evidence indicates shared mechanisms of pathogenesis between metabolic disorders and AD. We discuss the concept that peripheral and central nervous system inflammation link the pathogenesis of AD and metabolic diseases. We also explore the contribution of brain inflammation to defective insulin signaling and neuronal dysfunction. Last, we review recent evidence indicating that targeting neuroinflammation may provide novel therapeutic avenues for AD.

Keywords: Aging; Alzheimer's disease; Diabetes; Inflammation; Insulin signaling; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / complications*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Glucose Metabolism Disorders / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Insulin