Several studies have indicated that Diabetes Mellitus (DM) can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). This review briefly describes current concepts in mechanisms linking DM and insulin resistance/deficiency to AD. Insulin/insulin-like growth factor (IGF) resistance can contribute to neurodegeneration by several mechanisms which involve: energy and metabolism deficits, impairment of Glucose transporter-4 function, oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, accumulation of AGEs, ROS and RNS with increased production of neuro-inflammation and activation of pro-apoptosis cascade. Impairment in insulin receptor function and increased expression and activation of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) have also been described. These processes compromise neuronal and glial function, with a reduction in neurotransmitter homeostasis. Insulin/IGF resistance causes the accumulation of AβPP-Aβ oligomeric fibrils or insoluble larger aggregated fibrils in the form of plaques that are neurotoxic. Additionally, there is production and accumulation of hyper-phosphorylated insoluble fibrillar tau which can exacerbate cytoskeletal collapse and synaptic disconnection.
Alzheimer's disease; diabetes mellitus; insulin resistance; neurodegeneration; mechanisms