Brain metabolic dysfunction is known to influence brain activity in several neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). In fact, deregulation of neuronal metabolism has been postulated to play a key role leading to the clinical outcomes observed in AD. Besides deficits in glucose utilization in AD patients, recent evidence has implicated neuroinflammation and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress as components of a novel form of brain metabolic stress that develop in AD and other neurological disorders. Here we review findings supporting this novel paradigm and further discuss how these mechanisms seem to participate in synapse and cognitive impairments that are germane to AD. These deleterious processes resemble pathways that act in peripheral tissues leading to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, in an intriguing molecular connection linking AD to diabetes. The discovery of detailed mechanisms leading to neuronal metabolic stress may be a key step that will allow the understanding how cognitive impairment develops in AD, thereby offering new avenues for effective disease prevention and therapeutic targeting.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-β oligomers; endoplasmic reticulum stress; inflammation; metabolic stress.