Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative brain disease and the most common cause of dementia. AD is characterized by the extracellular amyloid beta (Aβ) plaques and intraneuronal deposits of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Recently, as aging has become a familiar phenomenon around the world, patients with AD are increasing in number. Thus, many researchers are working toward finding effective therapeutics for AD focused on Aβ hypothesis, although there has been no success yet. In this review paper, we suggest that AD is a metabolic disease and that we should focus on metabolites that are affected by metabolic alterations to find effective therapeutics for AD. Aging is associated with not only AD but also obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). AD, obesity, and T2DM share demographic profiles, risk factors, and clinical and biochemical features in common. Considering AD as a kind of metabolic disease, we suggest insulin, adiponectin, and antioxidants as mechanistic links among these diseases and targets for AD therapeutics. Patients with AD show reduced insulin signal transductions in the brain, and intranasal injection of insulin has been found to have an effect on AD treatment. In addition, adiponectin is decreased in the patients with obesity and T2DM. This reduction induces metabolic dysfunction both in the body and the brain, leading to AD pathogenesis. Oxidative stress is known to be induced by Aβ and NFTs, and we suggest that oxidative stress caused by metabolic alterations in the body induce brain metabolic alterations, resulting in AD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C2173). The authors would like to thank Dong-Su Jang, MFA (Medical Illustrator, Medical Research Support Section, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea) for his help with the illustrations.
© Yonsei University College of Medicine 2017.
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