In a new study, researchers propose that Alzheimer’s disease may be driven by the overactivation of fructose made in the brain.
They outlined the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease is driven largely by Western culture that has resulted in excessive fructose metabolism in the brain.
The study presents evidence from extensive data and research conducted in Alzheimer’s disease that links high fructose levels in the brain to the disease.
It also helps explain associations, such as why diabetes and obesity are associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
In essence, the researchers propose that Alzheimer’s disease is a modern disease driven by changes in dietary lifestyle in which fructose can disrupt cerebral metabolism and neuronal function.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
In the study, the team outlined data that showcases the overactivation of cerebral fructose metabolism that can drive Alzheimer’s disease.
The source of fructose is largely from endogenous production in the brain.
Thus, the reduction in mitochondrial energy production is hampered by neuronal glycolysis that is inadequate, resulting in progressive loss of cerebral energy levels required for neurons to remain functional and viable.
In one of the scenarios outlined, glucose hypometabolism increased oxidative stress, and a progressive loss of mitochondria occurred, leading eventually to neuronal dysfunction and death.
In this scenario, the amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are part of the inflammatory response and participate in injury, but are not the central factors driving the disease.
The team mentions that theoretically, inhibiting enzymes in the brain that are involved in fructose production or metabolism might provide novel ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease.
One author of the study is Richard Johnson, MD, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
The study is published in the Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
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