Serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein and cognitive function in elderly women

Age Ageing. 2007 Jul;36(4):443-8. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afm051. Epub 2007 May 30.


Background: Inflammation has been linked to cognitive impairment. However, limited data are available on the association between inflammatory markers and cognitive function.

Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that elevated serum concentration of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), an established marker of low-grade inflammation, predicts cognitive impairment in elderly women.

Design: A 12-year population-based follow-up study.

Participants: A total of 97 women between 60 and 70 years of age at baseline.

Methods: Serum hs-CRP concentration was measured by a high sensitivity assay. Global cognitive function was measured with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and memory and cognitive speed were measured with a detailed cognitive test battery.

Results: Higher baseline hs-CRP was associated with poorer memory at 12-year follow-up without adjustment and after adjustment for age, education and depression (standardised regression coefficient beta -0.842, 95% confidence interval -1.602 to -0.083, P = 0.030), and further adjustment for the use of hormone replacement therapy, smoking, serum LDL cholesterol and body mass index (standardised regression coefficient beta -0.817, 95% confidence interval -1.630 to -0.004, P = 0.049). Memory at 12-year follow-up worsened linearly with increasing hs-CRP at baseline (P = 0.048 for linear trend). There was no association between hs-CRP at baseline and cognitive speed or MMSE score at 12-year follow-up.

Conclusions: High serum hs-CRP concentration predicts poorer memory 12 years later in elderly women. Hs-CRP may be a useful biomarker to identify individuals at an increased risk for cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Aging / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / blood*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment*
  • Humans
  • Memory Disorders / blood
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein