Objective: To investigate the relationship between plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and the risk for cognitive deterioration and development of dementia in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Methods: Elderly Chinese patients with suspected cognitive impairment were screened. A total of 168 patients who met the criteria for MCI were enrolled. Plasma CRP levels were measured at baseline. The global cognitive functions were assessed at baseline and during follow-up periodically with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). All enrolled patients were followed and evaluated regularly for 2 years to determine if the patients developed dementia.
Results: Of the 168 patients with MCI diagnosed at baseline, 14 (8.3%) deceased, 13 (7.7%) lost to follow-up, and 58 (34.5%) developed dementia during follow-up. MMSE score of the enrolled patients declined significantly during follow-up (22.1 +/- 3.0 vs 18.6 +/- 5.5, P < 0.001). MMSE score was significantly lower for the patients with high CRP levels than that for those with low plasma CRP levels (-4.9 +/- 5.4 vs -3.2 +/- 4.2, P < 0.05). Patients with high plasma CRP level had an increased risk for dementia and vascular dementia as compared with patients with low level of plasma CRP (Log rank test, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: High plasma CRP level was associated with accelerated cognitive decline and increased risk for dementia in patients with MCI.