Insulin against Alzheimer's

The role of insulin made new value

A study conducted at the University of Buffalo (New York) suggests that insulin could be a potential treatment against Alzheimer's disease.

A low dose of insulin would have the effect of suppressing the expression in the blood of four proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease indicates a clinical research conducted by the University at Buffalo (State of New York).

A research, published online in the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that insulin could have a powerful new role in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. "Our results clearly show that insulin has the potential of a therapeutic agent against Alzheimer's disease," said Paresh Dandona Dr., professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in a news release from the University Buffalo (New York).

In the study that was conducted, 10 obese type 2 diabetics were perfused with two units of insulin to 100 ml per hour over a period of four hours. Patients usually treated their diabetes with oral, without recourse to insulin or anti-oxidants or anti-inflammatory drugs. The control group received dextrose 5 percent.

The low-dose insulin suppressed the expression of the protein precursor of amyloid plaques. It also affects several other proteins involved in Alzheimer's disease. Insulin has deleted presenilin-1 and presenilin-2, the two subunits of an enzyme that converts the protein amyloid beta-amyloid, which forms the brain plaques characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. Insulin also suppressed the glycogen synthase kinase, which adds another phosphate group, to the tau protein to form neurofibrillary tangles, the other important component of Alzheimer's disease in the brain.

If insulin is proving to be a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, the challenge is to deliver insulin directly into the brain, thus avoiding its hypoglycemic effect. Fortunately, says Professor Dandona, a previous preliminary study showed that intranasal administration of insulin may lead to its entry into the brain along the olfactory nerves and that his administration can improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer's disease.

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