Insulin receptor β-subunit haploinsufficiency impairs hippocampal late-phase ltp and recognition memory

Robert Nisticò, Virve Cavallucci, Sonia Piccinin, Simone Macrì, Marco Pignatelli, Bisan Mehdawy, Fabio Blandini, Giovanni Laviola, Davide Lauro, Nicola B. Mercuri, Marcello D'Amelio

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59 Scopus citations


The insulin receptor (IR) is a protein tyrosine kinase playing a pivotal role in the regulation of peripheral glucose metabolism and energy homoeostasis. IRs are also abundantly distributed in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, where they regulate synaptic activity required for learning and memory. As the major anabolic hormone in mammals, insulin stimulates protein synthesis partially through the activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, playing fundamental roles in neuronal development, synaptic plasticity and memory. Here, by means of a multidisciplinary approach, we report that long-term synaptic plasticity and recognition memory are impaired in IR β-subunit heterozygous mice. Since IR expression is diminished in type-2 diabetes as well as in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients, these data may provide a mechanistic link between insulin resistance, impaired synaptic transmission and cognitive decline in humans with metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-269
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroMolecular Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Cognitive decline
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin receptor signalling
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Synaptic plasticity


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