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Neurobiol Aging. 2010 Sep;31(9):1495-502. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2008.08.023. Epub 2008 Oct 18.

New roles for insulin-like hormones in neuronal signalling and protection: new hopes for novel treatments of Alzheimer's disease?

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School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University, Coleraine, Northern Ireland, UK.


Type 2 diabetes has been identified as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). This is most likely due to the desensitisation of insulin receptors in the brain. Insulin acts as a growth factor and supports neuronal repair, dendritic sprouting, and differentiation. This review discusses the potential role that insulin-like hormones could play in ameliorating the reduced growth factor signalling in the brains of people with AD. The incretins glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) have very similar properties in protecting neurons from toxic effects, and are capable of reversing the detrimental effects that beta-amyloid fragments have on synaptic plasticity. Therefore, incretins show great promise as a novel treatment for reducing degenerative processes in AD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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