Diabetes Drug Tested in Alzheimer’s Mice “Significantly Reversed Memory Loss.”
A drug developed for type 2 diabetes could be an effective way to treat Alzheimer’s disease. In recent research done in the UK, a drug developed for diabetes was tested in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease and showed significant improvement in neurocognitive function, through methods such as maze testing. Research has shown that type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and the progression of the disease due to insulin production, or lack thereof. Being that insulin is a growth factor with neuroprotective properties, the desensitization to insulin could be linked to neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer’s Society, believes that continuing this research is imperative to the advancement for treating Alzheimer’s. He feels that exploring drugs that were developed for other illnesses could lead to better treatment of this degenerative disease. The benefits of this drug testing has only thus far been shown in mice, but researchers are confident that this will show similar results based on other studies that were done with diabetes drugs, which have also shown positive results for people with neurodegenerative disorders.
The mice that were used in this study were APP/PS1 transgenic mice, which had mutated genes to express genes that cause Alzheimer’s. These genes were found in patients that have a particular form of Alzheimer’s that can be inherited. These mice were put through a maze test, and showed significant improvement to their cognitive memory function. The drug also seemed to slow down the rate at which nerve cells were lost, reduce oxidative stress, and reduce amyloid plaque in the brain. Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University in the UK said, “Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer’s disease or with mood disorders.” After completing this study on a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, they hope that continued research will provide more suitable treatment for patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disorder.
- Tai J, Liu W, Li Y, Li L, Hölscher C. 2018. Diabetes drug ‘significantly reverses memory loss’ in mice with Alzheimer’s: A drug developed for diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer’s. Brain Res 1678:64-74.