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Link Between Type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimer’s

Having type 2 diabetes could increase one’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, according to a study by researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden.

The risk comes from amyloid deposits that characterize Alzheimer’s disease forming in the pancreas of type 2 diabetics. Both diseases are characterized by a process called amyloidosis, in which misfolded proteins accumulate into fibrous deposits that often do not break down.  

In the pancreases of type 2 diabetics, amyloid is produced from its precursor, islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP, or amylin), which is secreted by insulin-producing beta cells.


For the experiment, scientists injected  mice expressing human IAPP with preformed fibrils of synthetic IAPP, proIAPP (a precursor to IAPP), or beta-amyloid. After the mice ate a fatty diet for 10 months, researchers discovered that amyloid concentrations had increased among all three fibrils in the pancreases’ hormone-producing cell clusters, called islets. The deposits weren’t found elsewhere in the body, such as in the liver or kidneys, so researchers concluded that beta-amyloid from the brain could jump-start the production of amyloid in the pancreas.

Source: Medical Daily