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Incretin hormones, insulin, glucagon and advanced glycation end products in relation to cognitive function in older people with and without diabetes, a population-based study

Journal article
Authors E. Dybjer
G. Engstrom
C. Helmer
K. Nagga
Patrik Rorsman
P. M. Nilsson
Published in Diabetic Medicine
Volume 37
Issue 7
Pages 1157-1166
ISSN 0742-3071
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 1157-1166
Language en
Keywords mental-state-examination, malmo diet, peptide-1, progression, validation, resistance, dementia, glucose, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Subject categories Endocrinology and Diabetes


Aim The aim of this observational study was to investigate relationships between physiological levels of glucometabolic biomarkers and cognitive test results in a population-based setting. Methods Cross-sectional data were obtained from the Swedish population-based Malmo Diet and Cancer Study Re-examination 2007-2012 comprising 3001 older people (mean age 72 years). Through oral glucose tolerance testing (OGTT), fasting and post-load levels of serum insulin, plasma glucagon, serum glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP) and plasma glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) were measured. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity levels were calculated. In 454 participants, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) were estimated through skin autofluorescence. Associations between biomarkers and two cognitive tests, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and A Quick Test of Cognitive Speed (AQT) respectively, were explored in multiple regression analyses. Results Positive associations following adjustments for known prognostic factors were found between MMSE scores and insulin sensitivity (B = 0.822, P = 0.004), 2-h plasma glucagon (B = 0.596, P = 0.026), 2-h serum GIP (B = 0.581, P = 0.040) and 2-h plasma GLP-1 (B = 0.585, P = 0.038), whereas negative associations were found between MMSE scores and insulin resistance (B = -0.734, P = 0.006), fasting plasma GLP-1 (B = -0.544, P = 0.033) and AGEs (B = -1.459, P = 0.030) were found. Conclusions Higher levels of insulin sensitivity, GIP and GLP-1 were associated with better cognitive outcomes, but AGEs were associated with worse outcomes, supporting evidence from preclinical studies. Glucagon was linked to better outcomes, which could possibly reflect neuroprotective properties similar to the related biomarker GLP-1 which has similar intracellular properties. Longitudinal and interventional studies are needed to further evaluate neuromodulating effects of these biomarkers. presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2019, Barcelona, Spain

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