Possible links between Diabetes Mellitus and Alzheimer’s disease

Tarun Bhatia, Sonalika Bhattaccharjee


While both Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been regarded as separate, independent disorders with their own mechanism of pathology and treatment, it is only recently that certain biochemical and pathophysiological links have been found between the two diseases. Both of these are leading causes of morbidity and mortality among the aged patients. Currently available in vitro and in vivo studies point toward a strong association between the presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the presence of beta amyloid (Aβ) plaques. It has also been reported that insulin signaling and its impairment positively correlates between the two diseases and that neuronal activity gets affected because of this impairment. Cholinesterases and 'tau' phosphorylation were found to be a common link between the two diseases and may be the underlined etiology. The role of apolipoproteins in diabetes and dementia, along with the role of inflammatory mediators has also been determined. Certain classes of anti-diabetic drugs like peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists are now being tried-and-tested in clinical trials for their effects in cognitive impairment, among other treatment options. This paper reviews some of the advances made in linking these two diseases with an insight into the caveats involved and the prospects of future studies.


Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Alzheimer's disease (AD), beta amyloid (Aβ) plaques, insulin, cholinesterases, 'tau', apolipoproteins, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonists Introduction: 1.1. Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Type 2 diabetes m

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