Insulin is a Two-Edged Knife on the Brain

Susana Cardoso, Sonia Correia, Renato X Santos, Cristina Carvalho, Maria S Santos, Catarina R Oliveira, George Perry, Mark A Smith, Xiongwei Zhu, Paula I Moreira (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Insulin, long known as an important regulator of blood glucose levels, plays important and multifaceted roles in the brain. It has been reported that insulin is an important neuromodulator, contributing to several neurobiological processes in particular energy homeostasis and cognition. Dysregulation of insulin signaling has been linked to aging and metabolic and neurodegenerative disorders. The first part of this review is devoted to discussion of the critical role of insulin signaling in normal brain function. Then the involvement of impaired insulin signaling in the pathophysiology of diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis will be discussed. Finally, the potential therapeutic effect of insulin and insulin sensitizers will be examined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-507
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2009


  • brain
  • insulin sensitizers
  • insulin
  • insulin signaling
  • neurodegenerative disorders


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