Association of C-reactive protein with cognitive impairment

Arch Neurol. 2010 Jan;67(1):87-92. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2009.308.


Background: High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is a biomarker of cardiovascular risk that is suggested to be a biomarker for cognitive impairment.

Objective: To explore the association between hsCRP and cognitive impairment.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based community aging study.

Setting: Northern Manhattan, New York, New York.

Other participants: One thousand three hundred thirty-one participants from a longitudinal study of aging without dementia and with available hsCRP and neuropsychological testing data at baseline.

Main outcome measures: Four cognitive scores (memory, visuospatial, executive, and language impairment) derived from a neuropsychological battery. Cognitive impairment was defined by scores below 1.5 SDs of demographically corrected means.

Results: Participants in the highest hsCRP tertile had higher adjusted odds of impaired memory (odds ratio [OR], 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-2.1; P = .03) than participants in the lowest tertile. Subjects in the highest hsCRP tertile also had greater odds of visuospatial impairment (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3; P = .03). Higher hsCRP was not associated with executive or language impairment. Persons with at least 1 APOE epsilon4 allele and hsCRP in the highest tertile had the greatest odds of impaired memory (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.6-4.4).

Conclusions: High hsCRP may be a marker of memory and visuospatial impairment in the elderly. The role of APOE epsilon4 requires further exploration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics*
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / genetics
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Biomarkers
  • Genetic Markers
  • C-Reactive Protein