Low levels of cerebrospinal fluid complement 3 and factor H predict faster cognitive decline in mild cognitive impairment

Jon B. Toledo, Ané Korff, Leslie M. Shaw, John Q. Trojanowski, Jing Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the deposition of tau and amyloid in the brain. Although the core cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) AD biomarkers amyloid β peptide 1-42 (Aβ1-42), total tau (t-tau) and phosphorylated tau 181 (p-tau181) show good diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, additional biomarkers that can aid in preclinical diagnosis or better track disease progression are needed. Activation of the complement system, a pivotal part of inflammation, occurs at very early stages in the AD brain. Therefore, CSF levels of complement proteins that could be linked to cognitive and structural changes in AD may have diagnostic and prognostic value. Methods. Using xMAP® technology based assays we measured complement 3 (C3) and factor H (FH) in the CSF of 110 controls (CN), 187 mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 92 AD subjects of the AD Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) at baseline. All ADNI participants underwent clinical follow-up at 12 month intervals and MCI subjects had additional visits at 6 and 18 months. The association between CSF biomarkers and different outcome measures were analyzed using Cox proportional hazard models (conversion from MCI to AD), logistic regression models (classification of clinical groups) and mixed-effects models adjusted for age, gender, education, t-tau/Aβ1-42and APOE 4 presence (baseline and longitudinal association between biomarkers and cognitive scores). Results: Although no association was found between the complement proteins and clinical diagnosis or cognitive measures, lower levels of C3 (β = -0.12, p = 0.041) and FH (β = -0.075, p = 0.041) were associated with faster cognitive decline in MCI subjects as measured by the AD Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog) test. Furthermore, lower FH levels were associated with larger lateral ventricular volume (p = 0.024), which is indicative of brain atrophy. Conclusions: Our study confirms a lack of suitability of CSF C3 and FH as diagnostic biomarkers of AD, but points to their modest potential as prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic targets in cognitively impaired patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 23 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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