Joao Duarte

Senior Lecturer

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Diabetes and Brain Function lab at Lund University

The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in western societies is closely associated with obesity, sedentary life-styles and the excessive consumption of food products rich in fat and sugar. The whole-body metabolic imbalance in diabetes has a detrimental impact on brain function, leading to increased risk of dementia.

Our previous work in rodent models of T2D identified diabetes-induced alterations of brain energy metabolism and metabolic profiles, changes in neuromodulation systems, astrogliosis and synaptic dysfunction underlying memory dysfunction. We further found that pharmacological interventions that target the adenosinergic neuromodulation system partly restore T2D-induced brain dysfunction.

Our current lab work mainly focuses on understanding early metabolic dysfunction that might precede and be involved in the diabetes-induced neurodegenerative process. In particular, we aim at understanding T2D-induced alterations of brain insulin-dependent metabolic regulation in neurons and astrocytes. Counteracting insulin signalling defects in brain areas regulating memory processes might provide a means of correcting energy fuelling to synaptic activity and plasticity, and prevent diabetes-induced synaptic dysfunction, neurodegeneration and memory dysfunction. 

UKÄ subject classification

  • Medical and Health Sciences
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Neurosciences
  • Physiology


  • diabetes
  • brain
  • metabolism
  • magnetic resonance


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