Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 55, Issue 11, pp 8754–8763 | Cite as

Diabetes Mellitus as a Risk Factor for Parkinson’s Disease: a Molecular Point of View

  • Alice Biosa
  • Tiago F. Outeiro
  • Luigi Bubacco
  • Marco BisagliaEmail author


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated concentrations of glucose in the blood. The chronic hyperglycemic state accounts for most of the vascular complications associated to the disease and the prevalent mechanism proposed is related to the glycating chemistry mediated by methylglyoxal (MG), which accumulates in T2DM. In recent years, a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) onset in people affected by T2DM has become evident, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the interplay between T2DM and PD are still unknown. The oxidative chemistry of dopamine and its reactivity towards the protein α-Synuclein (aS) has been associated to the pathogenesis of PD. Recently, aS has also been described to interact with MG. Interestingly, MG and the dopamine oxidation products share both structural similarity and chemical reactivity. The ability of MG to spread over the site of its production and react with aS could represent the rationale to explain the higher incidence of PD in T2DM-affected people and may open opportunities for the development of novel strategies to antagonize the raise of PD.


α-Synuclein Type 2 diabetes mellitus Dopamine DOPAL Methylglyoxal Parkinson’s disease 


Funding Information

The study is supported by a grant from the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (2015T778JW). TFO is supported by the DFG Center for Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain (CNMPB). The study is also supported through a project co-funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BLMB) and the EU Joint programme-Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) (aSynProtec).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Unit, Department of BiologyUniversity of PadovaPadovaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Experimental NeurodegenerationUniversity Medical Center GoettingenGoettingenGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Experimental MedicineGoettingenGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Neuroscience, The Medical SchoolNewcastle UniversityNewcastle Upon TyneUK

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