C-Reactive protein and genetic variants and cognitive decline in old age: the PROSPER Study

Mooijaart, S.P. et al. (2011) C-Reactive protein and genetic variants and cognitive decline in old age: the PROSPER Study. PLoS ONE, 6(9), e23890. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023890)

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Background: Plasma concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of chronic inflammation, have been associated with cognitive impairment in old age. However, it is unknown whether CRP is causally linked to cognitive decline. Methods and Findings: Within the Prospective Study of Pravastatin in the Elderly at Risk (PROSPER) trial, with 5680 participants with a mean age of 75 years, we examined associations of CRP levels and its genetic determinants with cognitive performance and decline over 3.2 years mean follow-up. Higher plasma CRP concentrations were associated with poorer baseline performance on the Stroop test (P = 0.001) and Letter Digit Tests (P, 0.001), but not with the immediate and delayed Picture Learning Test (PLT; both P>0.5). In the prospective analyses, higher CRP concentrations associated with increased rate of decline in the immediate PLT (P = 0.016), but not in other cognitive tests (all p>0.11). Adjustment for prevalent cardiovascular risk factors and disease did not change the baseline associations nor associations with cognitive decline during follow-up. Four haplotypes of CRP were used and, compared to the common haplotype, carrierships associated strongly with levels of CRP (all P < 0.007). In comparison to strong associations of apolipoprotein E with cognitive measures, associations of CRP haplotypes with such measures were inconsistent. Conclusion: Plasma CRP concentrations associate with cognitive performance in part through pathways independent of (risk factors for) cardiovascular disease. However, lifelong exposure to higher CRP levels does not associate with poorer cognitive performance in old age. The current data weaken the argument for a causal role of CRP in cognitive performance, but further study is warranted to draw definitive conclusions.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Welsh, Dr Paul and Stott J, Professor David and Ford, Professor Ian and Sattar, Professor Naveed
Authors: Mooijaart, S.P., Sattar, N., Trompet, S., Polisecki, E., de Craen, A.J.M., Schaefer, E.J., Jahn, S.E., van Himbergen, T., Welsh, P., Ford, I., Stott, D.J., and Westendorp, R.G.J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 6(9):e23890
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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