Neurochem Int 2020 05 21;135:104707. Epub 2020 Feb 21.
Pharmacology Division, University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS), UGC Centre of Advanced Study (UGC-CAS), Panjab University, Chandigarh, 160014, India. Electronic address:
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases. Its major pathological hallmarks, neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), and amyloid-β plaques can result from dysfunctional insulin signaling. Insulin is an important growth factor that regulates cell growth, energy utilization, mitochondrial function, autophagy, oxidative stress, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive function. Insulin and its downstream signaling molecules are located majorly in the regions of cortex and hippocampus. The major molecules involved in impaired insulin signaling include IRS, PI3K, Akt, and GSK-3β. Activation or inactivation of these major molecules through increased or decreased phosphorylation plays a role in insulin signaling abnormalities or insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, therefore, is considered as a major culprit in generating the hallmarks of AD arising from neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, etc. Moreover, caspases, Nrf2, and NF-κB influence this pathway in an indirect way. Various studies also suggest a strong link between Diabetes Mellitus and AD due to the impairment of insulin signaling pathway. Moreover, studies also depict a strong correlation of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease with insulin resistance. Hence this review will provide an insight into the role of insulin signaling pathway and related molecules as therapeutic targets in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.