Exacerbated CSF abnormalities in younger patients with Alzheimer's disease

Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jun;54:486-91. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2013.01.023. Epub 2013 Feb 13.


Increasing age is the most important risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between age and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of β-amyloid (Aβ 1-42), total Tau and phosphorylated Tau (pTau-181), in AD and non-AD patients explored for cognitive disorders. 966 patients (AD, n=528; non-AD, n=438) were included between January 2008 and December 2010 (mean age, 69.5years; mean MMSE, 20.2) from three French memory centers. Multivariable linear regression models were used to study the relationship between CSF biomarker levels and age in AD and non-AD patients. The capacity of each CSF biomarker in discriminating patients was evaluated using the area under the receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curves by quartile of distribution of age. In AD patients, older age was associated with higher CSF Aβ 1-42 and lower Tau levels. Conversely, in non-AD patients, age was associated with lower CSF Aβ 1-42, higher Tau, and higher pTau-181 levels. In sex-stratified analysis, these relationships were significant only in women. Using ROC curve analysis, CSF AD biomarkers were more discriminant in younger patients than in older ones. In this clinically-based study, younger patients with AD had exacerbated CSF anomalies compared to older patients with AD. CSF biomarkers were more discriminant in younger patients than in older ones for the diagnosis of AD, especially in women. These results support the idea of an overlap in AD neuropathological lesions in oldest subjects with or without AD.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aging / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • ROC Curve
  • tau Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • tau Proteins