The Role of Peripheral Inflammatory Markers in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Meta-Analysis

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Abstract

Background.

Studies that have investigated the association between markers of inflammation and risk of dementia are conflicting. Therefore, the researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies with the hypothesis that an increased level of peripheral proinflammatory markers would be associated with risk of all-cause dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

Methods.

The researchers conducted a literature search of observational studies indexed in the PubMed and PsycInfo databases. Selected studies included those with at least one peripheral inflammatory biomarker and its association with risk of all-cause dementia or AD. Random effects models were used to generate pooled hazard ratios (HRs) comparing the top versus bottom quantile of inflammatory marker level. Heterogeneity was assessed using the I2 statistic.

Results.

Seven studies were identified, combining for a total 5,717 participants, 746 cases of all-cause dementia and 565 cases of AD. An increased level of C-reactive protein was associated with a 45% increased risk of all-cause dementia (HR: 1.45; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.91). Similarly, a higher level of interleukin-6 was associated with a 32% increased risk (HR: 1.32; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.64) of all-cause dementia. For AD alone, the association with C-reactive protein was less pronounced (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.42) and interleukin-6 was not associated with risk of AD (HR: 1.06; 95% CI: 0.83, 1.35). No significant heterogeneity was found in any of the meta-analyses (I2 = 0%–40%, p ≥ .16).

Conclusions.

An increased peripheral level of inflammatory markers is associated with a modest increase in risk of all-cause dementia. Evidence for an association with risk of AD alone is limited.

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