Genetic link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease discovered

Type 2 diabetes has long been known to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, doctors were not sure the reasons for this correlation.

Now, the results of a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggest that a gene that encodes a certain protein may lead to the development of both conditions. Researchers hope that the findings will lead to better treatments for both diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

A team of investigators from Mount Sinai School of Medicine genetically programmed mice to have either high or low levels of the protein, SorCS1. Low levels of the protein have been shown in previous studies to increase an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In the current study, researchers found that mice who had low levels of SorCS1 were also more likely to experience accumulations in the brain of amyloid-beta (Abeta), a particle that is known to cause brain damage associated with Alzheimer's disease.

"We knew that Type 2 diabetes could increase the risk for Alzheimer's disease, but we were not sure how that risk was caused or whether that diabetes risk would impact Abeta levels in the brain," said Sam Gandy, who led the study. "These results elucidate a common mechanism between diabetes and Alzheimer's and will bring us a step closer to identifying effective treatments for both diseases."
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