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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2011 Mar;118(3):371-9. doi: 10.1007/s00702-010-0426-3. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

The link between iron, metabolic syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Zurich, Neumuensterallee 9, 8032, Zurich, Switzerland.


Both Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, and type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a disease associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS), affect a great number of the world population and both have increased prevalence with age. Recently, many studies demonstrated that pre-diabetes, MetS, and T2DM are risk factors in the development of AD and have many common mechanisms. The main focus of studies is the insulin resistance outcome found both in MetS as well as in brains of AD subjects. However, oxidative stress (OS)-related mechanisms, which are well known to be involved in AD, including mitochondrial dysfunction, elevated iron concentration, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and stress-related enzyme or proteins (e.g. heme oxygenase-1, transferrin, etc.), have not been elucidated in MetS or T2DM brains although OS and iron are involved in the degeneration of the pancreatic islet β cells. Therefore, this review sets to cover the current literature regarding OS and iron in MetS and T2DM and the similarities to mechanisms in AD both in human subjects as well as in animal models.

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