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Age related changes in pancreatic beta cells: A putative extra-cerebral site of Alzheimer's pathology
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Professor Johannes Attems
Maj M, Ilhan A, Neziri D, Gartner W, Berggard T, Attems J, Base W, Wagner L
World Journal of Diabetes
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Frequent concomitant manifestation of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been recently demonstrated by epidemiological studies. This might be due to functional similarities between beta-cells and neurons, such as secretion on demand of highly specific molecules in a tightly controlled fashion. An additional similarity represents the age-related alteration of hyperphosphorylated tau in AD patients. Similarly, alterations have been identified in beta-cells of T2DM patients. The islet amyloid polypeptide has been associated with beta-cell apoptosis. As a consequence of increasing age, the accumulation of highly modified proteins together with decreased regenerative potential might lead to increasing rates of apoptosis. Moreover, reduction of beta-cell replication capabilities results in reduction of beta-cell mass in mammals, simultaneously with impaired glucose tolerance. The new challenge is to learn much more about age-related protein modifications. This can lead to new treatment strategies for reducing the incidence of T2DM and AD.
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