Alzheimer's disease: the amyloid hypothesis and the Inverse Warburg effect

Front Physiol. 2015 Jan 14;5:522. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00522. eCollection 2014.


Epidemiological and biochemical studies show that the sporadic forms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are characterized by the following hallmarks: (a) An exponential increase with age; (b) Selective neuronal vulnerability; (c) Inverse cancer comorbidity. The present article appeals to these hallmarks to evaluate and contrast two competing models of AD: the amyloid hypothesis (a neuron-centric mechanism) and the Inverse Warburg hypothesis (a neuron-astrocytic mechanism). We show that these three hallmarks of AD conflict with the amyloid hypothesis, but are consistent with the Inverse Warburg hypothesis, a bioenergetic model which postulates that AD is the result of a cascade of three events-mitochondrial dysregulation, metabolic reprogramming (the Inverse Warburg effect), and natural selection. We also provide an explanation for the failures of the clinical trials based on amyloid immunization, and we propose a new class of therapeutic strategies consistent with the neuroenergetic selection model.

Keywords: age-related disease; inverse cancer comorbidity; metabolic alteration; mitochondrial dysregulation; the Inverse Warburg effect.