Regional mitochondrial DNA and cell-type changes in post-mortem brains of non-diabetic Alzheimer’s disease are not present in diabetic Alzheimer’s disease.

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Diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated in both diseases, however the impact of both diabetes and AD on brain mitochondria is not known. We measured mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), an indicator of mitochondrial function, in frontal, parietal, and cerebellar regions of post-mortem human brains (n=74) from non-cognitively impaired controls (NCI), mild-cognitively impaired (MCI) and AD cases. In a subset of parietal cortices, we measured mRNAs corresponding to cell types and mitochondrial function and semi-automated stereological assessment was performed on immune-staining of parietal cortex sections. mtDNA showed significant regional variation, highest in parietal cortex, and lowest in cerebellum. Irrespective of cognitive status, all brain regions had significantly higher mtDNA in diabetic cases. In the absence of diabetes, AD parietal cortices had decreased mtDNA, reduced MAP2 (neuronal) and increased GFAP (astrocyte) mRNA, relative to NCI. However, in the presence of diabetes, we did not observe these AD-related changes, suggesting that the pathology observed in diabetic AD may be different to that seen in non-diabetic AD. The lack of clear functional changes in mitochondrial parameters in diabetic AD suggest different cellular mechanisms contributing to cognitive impairment in diabetes which remain to be fully understood.
Original languageEnglish
Article number11386
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date6 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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