International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Centre for Precision Health / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are chronic diseases that share several pathological mechanisms, including insulin resistance and impaired insulin signalling. Their shared features have prompted the evaluation of the drugs used to manage diabetes for the treatment of AD. Insulin delivery itself has been utilized, with promising effects, in improving cognition and reducing AD related neuropathology. The most recent clinical trial involving intranasal insulin reported no slowing of cognitive decline; however, several factors may have impacted the trial outcomes. Long-acting and rapid-acting insulin analogues have also been evaluated within the context of AD with a lack of consistent outcomes. This narrative review provided insight into how targeting insulin signalling in the brain has potential as a therapeutic target for AD and provided a detailed update on the efficacy of insulin, its analogues and the outcomes of human clinical trials. We also discussed the current evidence that warrants the further investigation of the use of the mimetics of insulin for AD. These small molecules may provide a modifiable alternative to insulin, aiding in developing drugs that selectively target insulin signalling in the brain with the aim to attenuate cognitive dysfunction and AD pathologies.
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