Diabetes gene link to Alzheimers disease

Wed, 13 Oct 2010
A new study has found a link between a gene associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes that is also found in people suffering from Alzheimers disease . The research, carried out at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, may finally offer an understanding of the relationship between type 2 diabetes and the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease.

With nearly two thirds of cases of Alzheimer's also involving at least one medical condition primarily associated with type 2 diabetes, research has shown that healthy elderly patients affected by type 2 diabetes are now twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, although researchers have never been able to explain why this is.

This study, led by Giulio Maria Pasinetti and published in the journal Aging Cell, used mice that were genetically engineered to have Alzheimer's disease comparable to that seen in humans. It was found that a proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1 (PGC-1) gene, which is a crucial regulator of glucose which is hoped could be a therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes, is decreased in Alzheimer's disease.

Pasinetti and his colleagues think this decrease may be causally linked to promotion of Alzheimer's disease. Dr Pasinetti commented "Our research is the first to find that PGC-1 is a common denominator between Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease."

The team hope to discover that if they find that PGC-1 can be manipulated pharmacologically, then this could be an important development in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
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