Diabetic encephalopathy (DE) is one of the most common complications of diabetes. The major pathological variations include neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are caused by tau hyperphosphorylation, and senile plaques (SPs) consisting of amyloid β- protein(Aβ) deposits. In recent years, DE research studies have focused on exploring the activation of the inflammatory signaling pathway in immune cells. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is well known to regulate the inflammatory reactions in immune processes. During the tau hyperphosphorylation process, TLR9 in microglia plays bidirectional roles. However, no studies have clearly demonstrated the relationship between TLR9 and tau hyperphosphorylation in neurons. Based on our experiments, we found significant increase in TLR9 expression in neurons and an increase in tau hyperphosphorylation in high-glucose media. However, these alterations can be reversed by TLR9 inhibitor. Furthermore, we specifically inhibited the activation of P38mitogenactivated protein kinase(P38MAPK) and found an effective decrease in tau hyperphosphorylation. This effect is likely related to Unc93b1. Meanwhile, High glucose levels can induce neuronal apoptosis via the TLR9 signaling pathway.
Our studies are the first to reveal that high glucose can regulate tau hyperphosphorylation and neuronal apoptosis via TLR9-P38MAPK signaling pathway. These findings provide a new method for studying the mechanism underlying DE.