High-sensitivity C-reactive protein as biomarker for cognitive decline
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration is significantly associated with long-term cognitive decline, according to a study. This suggests the possibility of CRP being a marker of cognitive decline and serving as the basis for early intervention to prevent further deterioration.
The study involved 5,257 individuals (mean age 65.4 years; 54.9 percent women) who were included in the waves 2–7 of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Cognitive function was assessed at baseline (wave 2) and biennially (waves 3–7).
Median hs-CRP level at baseline was 2.0 mg/L (interquartile range, 0.9–4.1 mg/L). The mean number of cognitive assessment was 4.9, and the follow-up duration was 8.1 years.
In multivariable linear mixed models, a one-unit increment in natural log-transformed hs-CRP was associated with faster decline in the following: global cognitive scores (−0.048 points/year; 95 percent CI, −0.072 to −0.023), memory scores (−0.022 points/year; −0.031 to −0.013) and executive function scores (−0.025 points/year; −0.043 to −0.006).
When analysis was stratified according to quartiles of hs-CRP, global cognitive decline occurred at a rate of −0.145 points/year (−0.221 to −0.069) in the highest quartile, −0.090 points/year (−0.166 to −0.015) in the third quartile and −0.043 points/year (−0.116 to 0.029) in the second quartile than in the lowest quartile (p<0.001 for trend). Memory and executive function likewise declined faster with increasing quartiles of hs-CRP.
The present data show that elevated hs-CRP level could be a useful biomarker to identify individuals who are at greater risk of developing cognitive impairment and dementia, researchers said.