Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The molecular mechanism for this association remains poorly defined.
Researchers report in human and rodent tissues that elevated glucose, as found in MetS/T2DM, and oligomeric β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide, thought to be a key mediator of AD, coordinately increase neuronal Ca2+and nitric oxide (NO) in an NMDA receptor-dependent manner.
The increase in NO results in S-nitrosylation of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) and dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), thus inhibiting insulin and Aβ catabolism as well as hyperactivating mitochondrial fission machinery.
Consequent elevation in Aβ levels and compromise in mitochondrial bioenergetics result in dysfunctional synaptic plasticity and synapse loss in cortical and hippocampal neurons. The NMDA receptor antagonist memantine attenuates these effects.
These studies show that redox-mediated posttranslational modification of brain proteins link Aβ and hyperglycaemia to cognitive dysfunction in MetS/T2DM and AD.