Diabetes drugs show promise in Alzheimer’s disease

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist drug used to treat type 2 diabetes could help against alzheimer's, study finds. In image, MRI scan of a human brain

Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), possibly mediated by impaired insulin signalling. This hypothesis is bolstered by new research showing that administration of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists — which facilitate insulin signalling — has a neuroprotective effect in a mouse model of AD.

Paula McClean, from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and Christian Hölscher, from Lancaster University, administered either liraglutide or lixisenatide to transgenic APP/PS1 mice. Both treatments led to significant improvements in how mice performed in an object recognition task. The drugs also improved long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission in the hippocampus, prevented a reduction in synapse numbers and reduced amyloid plaque load.

Liraglutide and lixisenatide “show promise as potential drug treatments of AD”, conclude the researchers in Neuropharmacology (online, November 2014)[1]



[1] McClean PL & Hölscher C. Lixisenatide, a drug developed to treat type 2 diabetes, shows neuroprotective effects in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropharmacology 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.07.015.

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 15 November 2014, Vol 293, No 7836;293(7836):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20067093

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