Article

Parkinson's disease, insulin resistance and novel agents of neuroprotection.

1 Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
Brain (Impact Factor: 10.23). 02/2012; DOI: 10.1093/brain/aws009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Multiple avenues of research including epidemiology, molecular genetics and cell biology have identified links between Parkinson's disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Several recent discoveries have highlighted common cellular pathways that potentially relate neurodegenerative processes with abnormal mitochondrial function and abnormal glucose metabolism. This includes converging evidence identifying that peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α, a key regulator of enzymes involved in mitochondrial respiration and insulin resistance, is potentially pivotal in the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease. This evidence supports further study of these pathways, most importantly to identify neuroprotective agents for Parkinson's disease, and/or establish more effective prevention or treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus. In parallel with these advances, there are already randomized trials evaluating several established treatments for insulin resistance (pioglitazone and exenatide) as possible disease modifying drugs in Parkinson's disease, with only preliminary insights regarding their mechanisms of action in neurodegeneration, which may be effective in both disease processes through an action on mitochondrial function. Furthermore, parallels are also emerging between these same pathways and neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease. Our aim is to highlight this converging evidence and stimulate further hypothesis-testing studies specifically with reference to the potential development of novel neuroprotective agents in Parkinson's disease.

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