Alzheimer's disease: Is this a brain specific diabetic condition?

Physiol Behav. 2016 Oct 1;164(Pt A):259-67. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2016.05.041. Epub 2016 May 25.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM) are the two major health issues affecting millions of elderly people worldwide, with major impacts in the patient's daily life. Numerous studies have demonstrated that patients with diabetes have an increased risk of developing AD compared with healthy individuals. The principal biological mechanisms that associate with the progression of diabetes and AD are not completely understood. Impaired insulin signaling, uncontrolled glucose metabolism, oxidative stress, abnormal protein processing, and the stimulation of inflammatory pathways are common features to both AD and T2DM. In recent years brain specific abnormalities in insulin and insulin like growth factor (IGF) signaling considered as a major trigger involved in the etiopathogenesis of AD, showing T2DM like milieu. This review summarizes the pathways that might link diabetes and AD and the effect of diminished insulin.

Keywords: Alzheimer disease; Aβ pathology; Cognitive deficit; Insulin resistance; Neurodegeneration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Humans