Diabetes and Brain Function
Diabetes Mellitus has a major impact on brain function. The mechanisms of diabetic encephalopathy are however not completely understood, and the design of preventive strategies is necessary. Diabetic encephalopathy can derive from cellular damage caused both by high-glucose toxicity upon hyperglycemia and by defective insulin signaling due to either insulin deficiency or impairments at the level of the insulin signaling pathway. Insulin signaling has a role in modulating brain function, namely through control of metabolism and symaptic plasticity, and its deterioration occurs in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer´s disease, and in diabetes. Our lab is particularly imterested on the coupling between brain metabolism and function, and its deregulation in diabetes, as well as contributing to identify strategies for rescuing brain metabolic regulation in diabetes. This research is focused on brain areas that are particularly involved in cognition, and on the central control of whole-body energy balance. Notably. since metabolic alterations are likely early events in the process of neurodegeneration, this line of research may provide early encephalopathy biomarkers before severe structural damage and irreversible loss fo brain functions in diabetes patients.