Mechanisms linking brain insulin resistance to Alzheimer's disease

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.