Neurology Central

SfN19: Metabolic disturbances in the brain may exacerbate and forewarn Alzheimer’s pathology in mice

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Recent research has implicated that Type 2 diabetes could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by twofold. As metabolism of glucose is essential for brain functioning, including energy distribution and neural activity, any malfunction in this system would have cascading effects. Thus, researchers are working to understand the exact mechanisms that underpin the consequences of metabolic disturbances to more easily identify and treat diseases such as AD.  

At SfN Neuroscience 2019 (19–23 October, Chicago, IL, USA), three studies have been presented on the connection between dementia and the metabolic system that fuels the brain. David Holtzman (Washington University, MO, USA), who is the press conference moderator for these sets of abstracts, believes that further research could help us understand how to manipulate these functions for treatment purposes, in addition to identifying the underpinnings of the disease.  


High-fat diet in mice leads to memory impairment and decreased insulin signaling in the brain  

In one abstract presented at the conference, researchers examined the effect of a typical Western diet on the insulin-Akt-GSK3β pathway in male and female mice with different AD-linked genetic backgrounds.  

Within their study, mice were fed with either a typical Western diet or standard diet from 5 months of age. At the age of 11–12 months, they underwent behavioral testing and were then sacrificed at 12 months of age.  

Mice that were on the Western diet were observed to significantly gain more weight and exhibited higher fasting and post-glucose injection blood glucose levels compared with standard-diet mice.  

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