A gene associated with the onset of Type 2 diabetes is also found at lower-than-normal levels in people with Alzheimer's disease, Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers have found.
The new study provides insight into a potential mechanism that might explain the relationship between Type 2 diabetes and the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.
"This new evidence is of extreme interest, especially since approximately 60 percent of Alzheimer's disease cases have at least one serious medical condition primarily associated with Type 2 diabetes," said Giulio Maria Pasinetti.
Pasinetti and colleagues found that PGC-1, a key regulator of glucose currently investigated as a potential therapeutic target for Type 2 diabetes, is decreased in Alzheimer's disease. They said that this decrease might be causally linked to promotion of Alzheimer's disease.
"This discovery will have significant implications for the more than five million Americans affected by Alzheimer's disease, a number that is expected to skyrocket in the next three decades as the population ages. We look forward to continuing to research this discovery and translate it into the development of novel approaches for disease prevention and treatment," Pasinetti said.
The team hope that if they find that PGC-1 can be manipulated pharmacologically to prevent BACE accumulation in the brain, these studies will provide important insights for the formulation of novel treatments and possible preventative strategies in Alzheimer's disease.
The study is published in Aging Cell.