Nature communications

Elevated glucose and oligomeric β-amyloid disrupt synapses via a common pathway of aberrant protein S-nitrosylation.

PMID 26743041


Metabolic syndrome (MetS) and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) increase risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). The molecular mechanism for this association remains poorly defined. Here we report in human and rodent tissues that elevated glucose, as found in MetS/T2DM, and oligomeric β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide, thought to be a key mediator of AD, coordinately increase neuronal Ca(2+) and nitric oxide (NO) in an NMDA receptor-dependent manner. The increase in NO results in S-nitrosylation of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) and dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), thus inhibiting insulin and Aβ catabolism as well as hyperactivating mitochondrial fission machinery. Consequent elevation in Aβ levels and compromise in mitochondrial bioenergetics result in dysfunctional synaptic plasticity and synapse loss in cortical and hippocampal neurons. The NMDA receptor antagonist memantine attenuates these effects. Our studies show that redox-mediated posttranslational modification of brain proteins link Aβ and hyperglycaemia to cognitive dysfunction in MetS/T2DM and AD.