Alzheimer’s, higher risk for those suffering from type 2 diabetes

Alzheimer’s, higher risk for those suffering from type 2 diabetes


People affected by type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. This is revealed by new research, conducted on mice, which will be presented by Narendra Kumarassociate professor at Texas A&M University in College Station, who led the study, at Discover Bmb, the annual conference of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which began March 23 and ends March 26 in San Antonio.

The molecular mechanism that causes Alzheimer’s to develop in diabetics

The study offers significant insights into understanding what happens at a molecular level in diabetic people to promote the onset of Alzheimer’s. The research adds to previous investigations into the link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, which some scientists have labeled “type 3 diabetes.” The findings suggest that it should be possible to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by keeping diabetes well controlled and adopting a lifestyle that prevents its onset.

“We think that diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are strongly linked and that by taking preventative or diabetes-enhancing measures we can prevent or at least significantly slow the progression of dementia symptoms into Alzheimer’s disease,” Kumar said. Diabetes and Alzheimer’s are two of the fastest growing health problems worldwide.

A protein from the gut influences the brain

Diabetes impairs the body’s ability to transform food into energy and affects an estimated one in ten US adults. Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia that causes the progressive decline of memory and thinking skills, is among the top ten causes of death in the United States. Diet is known to influence the development of diabetes and the severity of its health consequences. To find out how diet might influence the development of Alzheimer’s in people with diabetes, researchers analyzed the ability of a particular protein in the gut to influence the brain.

Mice and the high-fat diet

The scientists found that a high-fat diet suppressed the expression of the protein, called Jak3, and that mice lacking this protein experienced a cascade of inflammation starting in the intestine, passing through the liver and reaching the brain . Ultimately, the mice showed Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in the brain, including overexpressed mouse amyloid beta and hyperphosphorylated tau, as well as cognitive impairment.

Between the intestine and the brain: the liver

“The liver being the metabolizer of everything we eat, we think the path from the gut to the brain goes through the liver,” Kumar said. His lab has long studied the functions of Jak3, and it is now known that the impact of food on changes in Jak3 expression leads to intestinal leakage. This, in turn, causes chronic low-grade inflammation, diabetes, a decreased ability of the brain to eliminate toxic substances, and dementia-like symptoms, which manifest in Alzheimer’s disease.

The importance of diet and blood sugar control

The good news, according to Kumar, is that it may be possible to stop this inflammatory pathway by following a healthy diet and keeping blood sugar under control. In particular, people with prediabetes, an estimated 98 million U.S. adults, could benefit from making lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes, prevent progression to type 2 diabetes, and potentially reduce their risk. of Alzheimer’s.


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