Sets of coregulated serum lipids are associated with Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology

Alzheimers Dement (Amst). 2019 Sep 5;11:619-627. doi: 10.1016/j.dadm.2019.07.002. eCollection 2019 Dec.


Introduction: Comorbidity with metabolic diseases indicates that lipid metabolism plays a role in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Comprehensive lipidomic analysis can provide new insights into the altered lipid metabolism in AD.

Method: In this study, a total 349 serum lipids were measured in 806 participants enrolled in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative Phase 1 cohort and analyzed using lipid-set enrichment statistics, a data mining method to find coregulated lipid sets.

Results: We found that sets of blood lipids were associated with current AD biomarkers and with AD clinical symptoms. AD diagnosis was associated with 7 of 28 lipid sets of which four also correlated with cognitive decline, including polyunsaturated fatty acids. Cerebrospinal fluid amyloid beta (Aβ1-42) correlated with glucosylceramides, lysophosphatidylcholines and unsaturated triacylglycerides; cerebrospinal fluid total tau and brain atrophy correlated with monounsaturated sphingomyelins and ceramides, in addition to EPA-containing lipids.

Discussion: AD-associated lipid sets indicated that lipid desaturation, elongation, and acyl chain remodeling processes are disturbed in AD subjects. Monounsaturated lipid metabolism was important in early stages of AD, whereas the polyunsaturated lipid metabolism was associated with later stages of AD. Our study provides several new hypotheses for studying the role of lipid metabolism in AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Dyslipidemias; Lipid biochemistry; Lipidomics; Mass spectrometry.