Researchers at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center have identified the protein amylin as another possible biomarker of AD. Amylin is a protein that is related to amyloid beta, a known marker of AD.
Build up of amylin oligomers in patients at risk for diabetes creates a cytotoxic environment which damages the cells in the pancreas leading to type-2 diabetes. Amylin accumulation was studied in patients with diabetes that also had some form of dementia (AD or vascular), non-diabetic AD patients, and healthy controls. The research team found amylin oligomers and deposits in the temporal lobe of diabetic patients and more intriguing, amylin deposition in the brain parenchyma and vasculature of patients with late-onset AD. The research suggests a link between metabolic disorders such as diabetes and the etiology of AD.