Semaglutide ameliorates cognition and glucose metabolism dysfunction in the 3xTg mouse model of Alzheimer's disease via the GLP-1R/SIRT1/GLUT4 pathway

Neuropharmacology. 2023 Dec 1:240:109716. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2023.109716. Epub 2023 Sep 18.


Disorders of brain glucose metabolism is known to affect brain activity in neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Furthermore, recent evidence has shown an association between AD and type 2 diabetes. Numerous reports have found that glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists improve the cognitive behavior and pathological features in AD patients and animals, which may be related to the improvement of glucose metabolism in the brain. However, the mechanism by which GLP-1 agonists improve the brain glucose metabolism in AD patients remains unclear. In this study, we found that SIRT1 is closely related to expression of GLP-1R in hippocampus of 3xTg mice. Therefore, we used semaglutide, a novel GLP-1R agonist currently undergoing two phase 3 clinical trials in AD patients, to observe the effect of SIRT1 after semaglutide treatment in 3XTg mice and HT22 cells, and to explore the mechanism of SIRT1 in the glucose metabolism disorders of AD. The mice were injected with semaglutide on alternate days for 30 days, followed by behavioral experiments including open field test, new object recognition test, and Y-maze. The content of glucose in the brain was also measured by using 18FDG-PET-CT scans. We measured the expression of Aβ and tau in the hippocampus, observed the expression of GLUT4 which is downstream of SIRT1, and tested the Glucose oxidase assay (GOD-POD) and Hexokinase (HK) in HT22 cells. Here, we found in the 3xTg mouse model of AD and in cultured HT22 mouse neurons that SIRT1 signaling is involved in the impairment of glucose metabolism in AD. Semaglutide can increased the expression levels of SIRT1 and GLUT4 in the hippocampus of 3xTg mice, accompanied by an improvement in learning and memory, decreased in Aβ plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. In addition, we further demonstrated that semaglutide improved glucose metabolism in the brain of 3xTg mice in vitro, semaglutide promoted glycolysis and improved glycolytic disorders, and increased the membrane translocation of GLUT4 in cultured HT22 cells. These effects were blocked by the SIRT1 inhibitor (EX527). These findings indicate that semaglutide can regulate the expression of GLUT4 to mediate glucose transport through SIRT1, thereby improving glucose metabolism dysfunction in AD mice and cells. The present study suggests that SIRT1/GLUT4 signaling pathway may be an important mechanism for GLP-1R to promote glucose metabolism in the brain, providing a reliable strategy for effective therapy of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; GLUT4; Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor; Glucose metabolism dysfunction; SIRT1.