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Int J Prev Med. 2016 Mar 10;7:57. doi: 10.4103/2008-7802.178531. eCollection 2016.

The Effect of Diabetes Mellitus on Apoptosis in Hippocampus: Cellular and Molecular Aspects.

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Department of Anatomical Sciences and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.
Department of Anatomical Sciences, School of Medicine, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran.
Department of Genetic Biology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.



Diabetes mellitus is associated with cognitive deficits in humans and animals. These deficits are paralleled by neurophysiological and structural changes in brain. In diabetic animals, impairments of spatial learning, memory, and cognition occur in association with distinct changes in hippocampus, a key brain area for many forms of learning and memory and are particularly sensitive to changes in glucose homeostasis. However, the multifactorial pathogenesis of diabetic encephalopathy is not yet completely understood. Apoptosis plays a crucial role in diabetes-induce neuronal loss in hippocampus.


The effects of diabetes on hippocampus and cognitive/behavioral dysfunctions in experimental models of diabetes are reviewed, with a focus on the negative impact on increased neuronal apoptosis and related cellular and molecular mechanisms.


Of all articles that were assessed, most of the experimental studies clearly showed that diabetes causes neuronal apoptosis in hippocampus through multiple mechanisms, including oxidative stress, inhibition of caspases, disturbance in expression of apoptosis regulator genes, as well as deficits in mitochondrial function. The balance between pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic signaling may determine the neuronal apoptotic outcome in vitro and in vivo models of experimental diabetes.


Dissecting out the mechanisms responsible for diabetes-related changes in the hippocampal cell apoptosis helps improve treatment of impaired cognitive and memory functions in diabetic individuals.


Apoptosis; central nervous system complication; diabetes mellitus; hippocampus

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