Excess Glucose in the Bloodstream Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

By Amy Taylor on February 28, 2017

 Excess glucose does not only up the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It may also damage a vital enzyme involved with inflammation response to the early stages of Alzheimer’s - new research revealed.

People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, the specific molecular link between glucose and Alzheimer’s was not understood.

Now, a team of scientists from University of Bath Departments of Biology and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, King’s College London, reveal how excess glucose in our blood can increase our chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The research team compared the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and those who do not have the disease using a sensitive technique. They found that in the early stages of Alzheimer’s glycation damages an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) which plays a role in immune response and insulin regulation.

Such particular enzyme is involved in the response of brain cells called glia to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers believe that inhibition and reduction of MIF activity caused by glycation could be the ’tipping point’ in disease progression. It appears that as Alzheimer’s progresses, glycation of these enzymes increases.

"We’ve shown that this enzyme is already modified by glucose in the brains of individuals at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. We are now investigating if we can detect similar changes in blood.” said Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry.

There are currently about 50 million people worldwide who have Alzheimer’s disease and experts predict that it will increase to more than 125 million by 2050.

"Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets." added Dr Omar Kassaar from the University of Bath.

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source of this article:

Omar Kassaar et al, Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor is subjected to glucose modification and oxidation in Alzheimer’s Disease

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