Human islet amyloid polypeptide aggregation, the missing link between type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease?

Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research/The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) aggregates, occurring in ~95% of T2D patients, induce a variety of pathological processes that are contributing factors to AD neuropathology. In current proposal, we attempt to investigate the effect of hIAPP aggregation on the Alzheimer’s development in T2D and the potential mechanism by conducting cell and animal experiments. Additionally, novel transgenic mouse models of diabetic AD will be generated to mimic the natural process of AD development in diabetics.


This study will help us to define the prevention and treatment of diabetic AD. Dissemination of the findings from this study will be done in different ways to make sure that the largest number of people will hear, understand and benefit from this novel research project. The experimental results will be published as research articles on academic journals and presented at scientific conferences, such as Society for Neuroscience annual meeting and Canadian Diabetes Association professional conference. Educational events and learning series will be held in the community, such as Cafe Science and public lecture series where we can engage the public with our research study, answer their questions directly and stimulate discussions.

End of Award Update

Source: CLEAR Foundation


Dr. Zhang’s research focused on creating a better understanding of why type 2 diabetes patients have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer disease. This research identified the important role of human islet amyloid polypeptide (hIAPP) in diabetes-induced dementia. Targeting hIAPP may be a valid approach for preventing and treating dementia in diabetes mellitus.