Altered plasma visfatin levels and insulin resistance in patients with Alzheimer’s disease

  • Ehsan Sharifipour
  • Soroush Sharifimoghadam
  • Navid Hassanzadeh
  • Negin Ghasemian Mojarad
  • Abdoreza Ghoreishi
  • Seyyed Amir Hejazi
  • Kambiz RohampourEmail author
Original article


Central insulin resistance is involved in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Visfatin (VIS), an adipokine secreted from peripheral adipose tissue, is involved in energy balance and weight control. Besides its metabolic roles, VIS possesses insulin-mimetic, anti-apoptotic, and neuroprotective properties. In this study, we assessed the presence of a correlation between plasma VIS level and insulin resistance or AD. Sixty participants were enrolled in this study; 34 patients with AD and 26 healthy subjects. All subjects underwent comprehensive evaluations including Mini-mental score exam (MMSE) for the diagnosis of dementia. Subjects with MMSE score < 24 were added to the AD group, while healthy subjects should have a MMSE score > 27. Fasting blood sugar (FBS) and insulin levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results indicate a significant elevation in FBS from 103 ± 3.0 to 147 ± 7.6 in AD patients (p ≤ 0.001). Additionally, 71% of AD patients developed insulin resistance, as the Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) index increased from 2.9 ± 0.5 in healthy subjects to 5.2 ± 0.7 in AD patients (p ≤ 0.05). Body mass index and serum insulin level did not show a significant alteration, but serum VIS levels were significantly (p ≤ 0.01) lower in AD patients (11.15 ± 1.9 ng/ml) in comparison to control group (21.09 ± 2.3 ng/ml). There is a negative correlation between plasma VIS level and the HOMA-IR index (p < 0.05). The results of this study present clear evidence for systemic insulin resistance and decreased serum VIS level in non-obese, non-overweight patients with moderate to severe AD.


Visfatin Alzheimer disease Insulin resistance Dementia 



This study was supported by a grant from Qom University of Medical Sciences (Grant number 94579) in/ Qom, Iran.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest for any of the contributing authors. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Ethical approval

All procedures in this study were in accordance to the ethical principles and the national norms and standards for conducting Medical Research in Iran, which is based on ethical standards of Helsinki declaration. The proposal of this study has been approved by the research ethics committee (approval ID: IR.MUQ.Rec.1394.100), meeting the professional and legal requirements is the sole responsibility of the PI and other project collaborators.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Supplementary material

13760_2019_1084_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (38 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 38 KB)


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Copyright information

© Belgian Neurological Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurology and Neuroscience Research CenterQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran
  2. 2.Student Research CommitteeQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran
  3. 3.Department of Neurology, Vali-e-asr Hospital, School of MedicineZanjan University of Medical SciencesZanjanIran

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