Systemic inflammation and the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia: a prospective population-based study

J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;18(1):79-87. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1126.


Inflammation is suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and high sensitivity serum reactive protein C (hsCRP) as markers of systemic inflammation were analyzed at two examinations of the ULSAM-study, a longitudinal, community-based study of elderly men (age 70, n = 1062 and age 77, n = 749). In addition, serum amyloid protein A (SAA) and urinary prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) metabolite levels were analyzed at age 77 in this cohort. Two serial samples (at ages 70 and 77) were available from 704 individuals. Using Cox regression analyses, associations between serum IL-6, hsCRP, SAA and PGF2alpha metabolite levels and risk of AD, any type of dementia (all-cause dementia) and non-AD dementia were analyzed. On follow-up (median, 11.3 years) in the age 70 cohort, 81 subjects developed AD and 165 subjects developed all-cause dementia. Serum IL-6, hsCRP, SAA, or PGF2alpha levels were not associated with risk of AD. At age 70, high IL-6 levels were associated with an increased risk of non-AD dementia (Hazard ratio 2.21 for above vs. below/at median, 95%confidence interval 1.23-3.95, p-value = 0.008). A longitudinal change in CRP or IL-6 levels was not associated with AD ordementia. In conclusion, Serum IL-6, hsCRP, SAA, and PGF2alpha levels are not associated with the risk of AD. High serum IL-6 levels may be associated with increased risk of non-AD dementia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis*
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / metabolism
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Population
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein