Research studies from the National Institute on Aging have recently identified a potential biomarker protein in the brain called insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) that may be able to signal the earliest stages of AD. IRS-1 is a protein that helps to facilitate insulin signals to the brain. In patients with insulin resistance, there is a diminished glucose uptake into cells which can result in type-2 diabetes mellitus. In addition, AD patients with insulin resistance have a diminished glucose uptake in regions of the brain. Research has shown that insulin resistance can be the result of low insulin receptor signaling due to abnormal functioning of the IRS-1 protein.
A blood assay to detect the IRS-1 protein has recently been developed and studied. Studies have shown that individuals with AD may have higher blood levels of the inactive form of IRS-1 protein and decreased levels of the active form of IRS-1 protein. At present, the IRS-1 test is still being clinically validated and is not yet available commercially. Since clinical and analytical research on the IRS-1 test is ongoing, it is premature at this time to draw any conclusions regarding insulin resistant diabetes and the risk of AD.
Image: The image on this page depicts the structure of IRS-1 protein. Research has shown that insulin resistance can be the result of low insulin receptor signaling due to abnormal functioning of the IRS-1 protein which may signal the earliest stages of AD.