Objectives: Apolipoproteins have recently been implicated in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In particular, Apolipoprotein J (ApoJ or clusterin) has been proposed as a biomarker of the disease at the pre-dementia stage. We examined a group of apolipoproteins, including ApoA1, ApoA2, ApoB, ApoC3, ApoE, ApoH and ApoJ, in the plasma of a longitudinal community based cohort.
Methods: 664 subjects (257 with Mild Cognitive Impairment [MCI] and 407 with normal cognition), mean age 78 years, from the Sydney Memory and Aging Study (MAS) were followed up over two years. Plasma apolipoprotein levels at baseline (Wave 1) were measured using a multiplex bead fluorescence immunoassay technique.
Results: At Wave 1, MCI subjects had lower levels of ApoA1, ApoA2 and ApoH, and higher levels of ApoE and ApoJ, and a higher ApoB/ApoA1 ratio. Carriers of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele had significantly lower levels of plasma ApoE, ApoC3 and ApoH and a significantly higher level of ApoB. Global cognitive scores were correlated positively with ApoH and negatively with ApoJ levels. ApoJ and ApoE levels were correlated negatively with grey matter volume and positively with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume on MRI. Lower ApoA1, ApoA2 and ApoH levels, and higher ApoB/ApoA1 ratio, increased the risk of cognitive decline over two years in cognitively normal individuals. ApoA1 was the most significant predictor of decline. These associations remained after statistically controlling for lipid profile. Higher ApoJ levels predicted white matter atrophy over two years.
Conclusions: Elderly individuals with MCI have abnormal apolipoprotein levels, which are related to cognitive function and volumetric MRI measures cross-sectionally and are predictive of cognitive impairment in cognitively normal subjects. ApoA1, ApoH and ApoJ are potential plasma biomarkers of cognitive decline in non-demented elderly individuals.