The effect of metformin and insulin on neuronal degeneration in a glucose/streptozotocin model of Alzheimer's disease.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a debilitating disorder characterized by dementia and loss of functioning in daily activities. Recent epidemiological studies have suggested a link between type two diabetes mellitus (TD2M) and AD. TD2M is a condition in which the body is resistant to insulin causing a buildup of glucose in the body, a situation that has been thought to occur in the brain in patients with AD. Metformin is one current treatment for TD2M and is thought to help regulate glucose levels. If there is a link between TD2M and AD then Metformin could be a treatment for AD by alleviating insulin resistance in the brain, preventing oxidative stress on neurons, and avoiding neurodegeneration. In this study, fetal rat cortical neurons were cultured and treated with high levels of glucose and streptozotocin in the absence of insulin to create oxidative stress of the neurons similar to that in patients with both AD and TD2M. Insulin and Metformin were added in an attempt to rescue the neurons as measured by cell viability and by the stability of microtubules. While there were measurable decreases in response to the cell stressors, which were partially protected by insulin, Metformin had no measurable protective effect. Future experiments will focus on changing the dose and time course of Metformin exposure to see whether there are conditions that improve cellular response.