Subcutaneous liraglutide ameliorates methylglyoxal-induced Alzheimer-like tau pathology and cognitive impairment by modulating tau hyperphosphorylation and glycogen synthase kinase-3β

Am J Transl Res. 2017 Feb 15;9(2):247-260. eCollection 2017.


Memory deterioration and synapse damage with accumulation of β-amyloid and hyperphosphorylated tau are hallmark lesions of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Methylglyoxal (MG), a key intermediate of glucose metabolism, is elevated in AD brains and modifies Aβ42, increasing misfolding and leading to the accumulation of senile plaques. Liraglutide, an analog of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), is neurotrophic and neuroprotective. However, whether liraglutide can protect against AD-like memory-related deficits and tau hyperphosphorylation caused by MG in vivo is not known. Here, we report that MG induces tau hyperphosphorylation and causes ultrastructural hippocampal damage and cognitive impairment in C57BL/6J mice. Liraglutide reduced these effects via activation of the protein kinase B and glycogen synthase kinase-3β pathways. Our data reveal that liraglutide may alleviate AD-like cognitive impairment by decreasing the phosphorylation of tau.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; glucagon-like peptide-1; glycogen synthase kinase-3β; methylglyoxal; tau protein.