Recent research has found a link between a specific group of drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes and the biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. It is not yet known to what extent these drugs can affect Alzheimer’s patients, but researchers are looking to conduct extensive experiments to learn more.
The research whose results are published in the journal Neurology Published a special group of diabetes drugs called dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4i) inhibitors, also known as glyptin. The researchers compared previous brain scan data and cognitive test results from 70 diabetic patients receiving DPP-4i with 71 diabetic patients not receiving DPP-4i and 141 non-diabetic volunteers.
The mean age of all subjects in the group was 76 years, and based on PET scans and cognitive tests, they all showed early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers followed these people for six years to record the extent of their brain decline and cognitive score from the beginning of the study. Finally, the group receiving DPP-4i had significantly less cognitive decline than the others.
The researchers found that the group’s average annual score on the current MMSE cognitive test dropped by just 0.87. This number dropped to 1.65 points per year for the diabetic group without DPP-4i and 1.48 points per year for the non-diabetic group.
Examination of biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, including amyloid protein in the brain, shows that the level of this protein was lower in patients receiving DPP-4i than in other groups. “People with diabetes are more at risk for Alzheimer’s, which is probably due to higher blood sugar, which leads to the formation of amyloid beta in the brain,” said Phil Hugh Lee, one of the study’s lead researchers. “Our research shows that taking DPP-4i not only lowered blood pressure levels but also reduced the total number of cerebral amyloid.”
The question that this study failed to answer is whether DPP-4i can directly affect neuroprotective properties and prevent cognitive decline in the brain.