Nutrients required for phospholipid synthesis are lower in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease dementia

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2017 May 16:8:139-146. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2017.04.005. eCollection 2017.


Introduction: Synaptic membrane formation depends on nutrients that fuel metabolic pathways for the synthesis of constituent phospholipids. Consequently, insufficient availability of such nutrients may restrict membrane formation and contribute to synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We assessed whether blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of nutrients related to phospholipid synthesis differ among patients with AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and control subjects.

Methods: Concentrations of uridine, choline, folate, homocysteine, and other related metabolites were analyzed in paired blood and CSF samples from subjects selected from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort with AD (n = 150; age, 66 ± 7 years; 37% female), MCI (n = 148; age, 66 ± 8 years; 37% female), and control subjects (n = 148; age, 59 ± 8 years; 38% female).

Results: Age- and gender-adjusted analysis of variance revealed different concentrations of circulating uridine, choline, and folate and CSF uridine, folate, and homocysteine (all P < .05) among the three diagnostic groups. Post hoc pairwise comparison showed that subjects with AD had lower CSF uridine, plasma choline and higher CSF homocysteine concentrations, whereas subjects with MCI had lower plasma and CSF uridine, serum and CSF folate, and higher CSF homocysteine concentrations compared with control subjects (all P < .05), with differences ranging from -11 to +22%.

Discussion: AD and MCI patients have lower levels of nutrients involved in phospholipid synthesis. The current observations warrant exploration of the application of nutritional strategies in the early stages of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Blood; Cerebrospinal fluid; Choline; Folate; Homocysteine; Mild cognitive impairment; Nutritional status; Phospholipid precursors; Uridine.