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Monday, September 25th 2006

Type 3 Diabetes

Is Alzheimer’s really a time of brain diabetes. One of the leading proponents of that theory is to publish data that a type 2 diabetes drugs can stop the early manifestations of a rat Alzheimer’s disease. Stop it.

Now de la Monte and colleagues find that an insulin-sensitizing drug protects the brains of rats and keeps them from developing Alzheimer’s-like disease.

“This is great news for patients since you treat early stages of disease,” de la Monte, said in a news release. “The trigger for dementia is the loss of insulin and insulin-growth-factor-producing cells. The cells that need those growth factors subsequently die. This study shows you can block the second phase, which is responsible for dementia.”

The drug de la Monte and colleagues found so useful for rats is very similar to two drugs currently used to treat diabetes: Actos and Avandia. Known as “TZDs” or “glitazones,” the drugs make the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin.

They do this by stimulating a cellular molecule called peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor or PPAR. There are several kinds of PPAR. Actos and Avandia stimulate the kind called PPAR-gamma. New “glitazar” drugs now in development will stimulate PPAR-alpha as well as PPAR-gamma.

However, de la Monte and colleagues find that the best anti-Alzheimer’s effect — in rats — comes from a drug that stimulates a kind of PPAR called PPAR-delta.

The good news is that if this treatment does turn out to work in people, brain injections probably won’t be needed. In the rat studies, the drug was able to travel through the blood into the brain.

Here’s a summary from Dr. de la Monte’s earlier studies.