Diabetes-Related Neurological Implications and Pharmacogenomics

Camilo Andrés Rojas-Carranza, Rosa Helena Bustos-Cruz, Carmen Juliana Pino-Pinzón, Yeimy Viviana Ariza-Marquez, Rosa Margarita Gómez-Bello, Maria Luisa Canadas Garre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetes mellitus (DM) is the most commonly occurring cause of neuropathy around the world and is beginning to grow in countries where there is a risk of obesity. DM Type II, (T2DM) is a common age-related disease and is a major health concern, particularly in developed countries in Europe where the population is aging.
T2DM is a chronic disease which is characterised by hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, together with the body’s inability to use glucose as energy. Such metabolic disorder produces a chronic inflammatory
state, as well as changes in lipid metabolism leading to hypertriglyceridemia, thereby producing chronic deterioration of the organs and premature morbidity and mortality. The pathology’s effects increase cerebral damage, leading to the rapid onset of neurodegenerative diseases. Hyperglycemia causes oxidative stress in tissues which are susceptible to the complications involved in diabetes, including peripheral nerves. Other additional mechanisms include activation of polyol aldose reductase signalling accompanied by protein kinase C (PKC)-ß
activation, poly(ADP ribose) polymerase activation, cyclooxygenase (COX) 2 activation, endothelial dysfunction, altered Na+/K+ ATPase pump function, dyslipidaemia and perturbation of calcium balance. All the forgoing has
an impact on neuron activity, mitochondrial function, membrane permeability and endothelial function. These biochemical processes directly affect the neurons and endothelial tissue, thereby accelerating cerebral aging by means of peroxidation of the polyunsaturated fatty acids and thus injuring cell membrane integrity and inducing apoptosis in the glial cells. The central nervous system (CNS) includes two types de glial cells: microglia and macroglia (astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and radial cells which include Bergmann cells and Müller cells). Glial cells constitute more than 90% of the CNS cell population. Human studies have shown that some oral antidiabetic drugs can improve cognition in patients suffering mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia [1, 2]. While it is still unclear whether diabetes management will reduce MCI and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), incidence, emerging evidence suggests that diabetes therapies may improve cognitive function. This review focuses three aspects: the clinical manifestation of diabetes regarding glial and neuronal cells, the association between neurodegeneration and diabetes and summarises some of the pharmacogenomic data obtained from studies of T2DM treatment, focusing on polymorphisms in genes affecting pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and treatment outcome of the most commonly-prescribed oral anti-diabetic drugs (OADs).
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Publication statusEarly online date - 17 Mar 2017


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