Neuronal LRP1 regulates glucose metabolism and insulin signaling in the brain

Chia Chen Liu, Jin Hu, Chih Wei Tsai, Mei Yue, Heather L. Melrose, Takahisa Kanekiyo, Guojun Bu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurological disorder characterized by profound memory loss and progressive dementia. Accumulating evidence suggests that Type 2 diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disorder characterized by insulin resistance and glucose intolerance, significantly increases the risk for developing AD. Whereas amyloid-β (Aβ) deposition and neurofibrillary tangles are major histological hallmarks of AD, impairment of cerebral glucose metabolism precedes these pathological changes during the early stage of AD and likely triggers or exacerbates AD pathology. However, the mechanisms linking disturbed insulin signaling/glucose metabolism and AD pathogenesis remain unclear. The low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1), a major apolipoprotein E receptor, plays critical roles in lipoprotein metabolism, synaptic maintenance, and clearance of Aβ in the brain. Here, we demonstrate that LRP1 interacts with the insulin receptor β in the brain and regulates insulin signaling and glucose uptake. LRP1 deficiency in neurons leads to impaired insulin signaling as well as reduced levels of glucose transporters GLUT3 and GLUT4. Consequently, glucose uptake is reduced. By using an in vivo microdialysis technique sampling brain glucose concentration in freely moving mice, we further show that LRP1 deficiency in conditional knock-out mice resulted in glucose intolerance in the brain. We also found that hyperglycemia suppresses LRP1 expression, which further exacerbates insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, and AD pathology. As loss of LRP1 expression is seen in AD brains, our study provides novel insights into insulin resistance in AD. Our work also establishes new targets that can be explored for AD prevention or therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5851-5859
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 8 2015


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Apolipoprotein e
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Insulin signaling
  • LRP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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