Cerebrospinal fluid levels of IL-6 are decreased and correlate with cognitive status in DLB patients

Alzheimers Res Ther. 2015 Oct 5;7(1):63. doi: 10.1186/s13195-015-0145-y.


Introduction: Inflammatory processes have previously been shown to influence cognition and progression of dementia. An involvement of interleukin (IL)-6 has in particular been suggested as altered levels of IL-6 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been found in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Also, an association between cognitive decline and levels of IL-6 in CSF have been reported. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether patients clinically diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) display altered CSF IL-6 levels in comparison with patients with AD and control subjects without dementia and whether the IL-6 levels are correlated with cognitive status and biomarkers for AD and synucleinopathy.

Methods: To analyse CSF of patients with AD (n = 45), patients with DLB (n = 29) and control subjects without dementia (n = 36), we used immunoassays to measure levels of IL-6 (multiplex electrochemiluminescence); AD markers phosphorylated tau, total tau and amyloid-β1-42 (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]); and α-synuclein (ELISA). Cognitive status was evaluated using the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE).

Results: Our analysis showed significantly lower levels of IL-6 in CSF from patients with DLB than in CSF from patients with AD and control subjects without dementia. The IL-6 levels were also negatively correlated with MMSE and positively correlated with α-synuclein CSF levels.

Conclusions: Our findings support previous studies by demonstrating a link between inflammatory processes and dementia progression and further strengthen the hypothesis that IL-6 is involved in dementia pathology and cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cognition* / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Lewy Body Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Lewy Body Disease / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • alpha-Synuclein / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Biomarkers
  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • SNCA protein, human
  • alpha-Synuclein