Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Biological Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Ewan McNay

Committee Member

Gabriel Fuchs


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by tau tangles and amyloid - β (Aβ) peptide aggregates amyloids in the brain, specifically in the hippocampus. Aβ plaques are known to form primarily in the extracellular space aroun d neuronal cells, interfering with synaptic transmission. The aggregation of Aβ in the hippocampus is associated with a decline in hippocampally - mediated cognitive abilities, which is a symptom of AD. AD has a strong correlation to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), which is defined by hyperinsulinemia and dysregulated glucose metabolism. It has been shown that insulin plays a role in both memory and learning in the hippocampus. The simultaneous elevation in insulin and Aβ suggests a connection between the mo lecular effectors of both T2DM and AD, insulin and Aβ (monomeric, oligomeric and fibril), respectively. Moreover, both zinc and calcium are required for the stabilization of insulin and AD patients show signs of both zinc and calcium dysregulation . Thus, I propose that destabilization of insulin facilitates Aβ oligomerization. To investigate the relationship between Aβ and insulin, I varied concentrations of Aβ , insulin, zinc, calcium and glucose and observe d amyloid formation by performing dot blot immuno assays. I have found that at low concentrations of calcium and zinc and high concentrations of glucose, increased formation of Aβ oligomers were observed. I discuss future experimentation to further characterize these complexes on the molecular level.

Included in

Biology Commons