Sugar metabolism and Alzheimer's disease: A New Link
What is Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is the most common cause of dementia, affecting more than 50 million people worldwide.
What are the causes of Alzheimer's Disease?
The exact causes of Alzheimer's disease are still unknown, but researchers have identified some risk factors, such as age, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors.
One of these factors is sugar metabolism, or how the body breaks down and uses glucose, the main source of energy for the brain. Glucose metabolism is impaired in Alzheimer's disease, leading to lower levels of glucose in the brain. This may affect the brain's ability to function properly and may contribute to the accumulation of amyloid-beta plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.
A new study by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System has revealed a novel mechanism that links sugar metabolism and Alzheimer's disease. The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that a protein called SGLT2, which is involved in glucose transport in the kidneys, is also expressed in the brain and regulates glucose levels in the cerebrospinal fluid.
The researchers found that SGLT2 levels were increased in the brains of mice and humans with Alzheimer's disease, compared to healthy controls. They also found that blocking SGLT2 with a drug called dapagliflozin, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, reduced amyloid-beta plaque formation and improved cognitive performance in mice with Alzheimer's disease.
The study suggests that SGLT2 may be a potential target for preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease by modulating glucose metabolism in the brain. The researchers hope that their findings will pave the way for further studies to test the safety and efficacy of SGLT2 inhibitors in humans with Alzheimer's disease.