Longitudinal associations between C-reactive protein and cognitive performance in normative cognitive ageing and dementia.

TitleLongitudinal associations between C-reactive protein and cognitive performance in normative cognitive ageing and dementia.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsLewis, NA, Knight, JE
JournalAge and Ageing
ISSN Number1468-2834
KeywordsBiomarkers, bivariate growth model, Cognition, Dementia, Inflammation

BACKGROUND: systemic inflammation appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis and expression of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Previous research has found that elevated levels of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated with poorer cognitive functioning and increased risk for dementia. However, most studies are limited by single CRP measurements, which fail to capture long-term inflammatory exposures or dynamic changes in inflammation and cognition which may occur across repeated measurements.

METHODS: using data from 3,563 older adults aged 65-101 from the Health and Retirement Study, we examined bivariate changes in CRP and cognition measured repeatedly over a 10-year follow-up. Bivariate multilevel models estimated the effect of time-varying CRP on cognition among cognitively healthy older adults and in a subset of 427 participants who reported incident dementia onset during the follow-up period.

RESULTS: in cognitively healthy participants, CRP was associated with lower level of cognitive functioning, but not rate of change over time. This effect was significant in participants under 80 years of age (b = -0.09, standard error (SE) = 0.05, P = 0.04), but not in older participants. In participants with incident dementia, those with higher CRP experienced smaller rates of cognitive decline, leading up to dementia diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: elevated levels of CRP predict poorer cognition and increased dementia risk in cognitively healthy adults under the age of 80. Conversely, increased CRP may confer protective effects on cognition in the prodromal stage of dementia.

Citation Key11778
PubMed ID34324642
PubMed Central IDPMC8675752
Grant List / / Alzheimer's Society of Canada Research Program /
GSD-164243 / / Canadian Institute of Health Research /
/ / Networks of Centers of Excellence Program /