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.