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Repurposing of Anti-Diabetic Agents for the Treatment of Cognitive Impairment and Mood Disorders

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 5 ]


D.S. Cha, M. Vahtra, J. Ahmed, P.A. Kudlow, R.B. Mansur, A.F. Carvalho and R.S. McIntyre   Pages 465 - 473 ( 9 )


Impairments in cognitive function represent a consistent, non-specific, and clinically significant feature in metabolic, mood, and dementing disorders. The foregoing observation is instantiated by evidence demonstrating that these disorders share pathophysiological mechanisms including, but not limited to, aberrant insulin signaling, inflammation, and glucocorticoid activity. Moreover, these mechanisms have been consistently reported to increase vulnerability to and/or exacerbate impairments in cognitive function. Notwithstanding evidence suggesting a bidirectional relationship between disturbances in the metabolic milieu, mood, and increased risk for dementia, efficacious treatments that target cognitive impairments in these populations do not presently exist. Taken together, it is proposed that anti-diabetic agents may aid the management of mood disorders and future risk for dementia through disease modification by targeting underlying pathophysiological mechanisms (e.g., aberrant metabolic function) rather than focusing solely on symptom mitigation. The current aim is to provide a brief narrative review of extant studies that report on the potential neurotherapeutic effects of anti-diabetic agents on disturbances in mood and impairments in cognitive function.


Depression, bipolar, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, insulin, insulin resistance, GLP-1, incretin, thiazolidinedione, metformin, cognition.


Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8, Canada

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