Background: Brain amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques, a hallmark of the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease, have been associated with frailty. Whether the plasma Aβ markers show similar relationship with frailty is unknown.
Objectives: To investigate the prospective associations between plasma Aβ42/40 ratio and overtime frailty in community-dwelling older adults.
Methods: From the 5-year Multidomain Alzheimer Preventive Trial (MAPT), we included 477 adults ≥70 years with available data on plasma Aβ42/40 ratio (lower is worse). Fried frailty phenotype (robust, pre-frail and frail) was assessed at the same time-point of plasma Aβ measures and after until the end of follow-up. The outcomes of interest were the change in the frailty phenotype over time (examined by mixed-effect ordinal logistic regressions) and incident frailty (examined by Cox proportional hazard models).
Results: Plasma Aβ42/40 did not show significant associations with incident frailty; however, after adjusting for Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 genotype, people in the lower quartile of plasma Aβ42/40 (≤0.103) had higher risk of incident frailty (HR=2.63; 95% CI, 1.00 to 6.89), compared to those in the upper quartile (>0.123). Exploratory analysis found a significant association between the lower quartile of plasma Aβ42/40 and incident frailty among APOE ε4 non-carriers (HR=3.48; 95% CI, 1.19 to 10.16), but not among carriers. No associations between plasma Aβ42/40 and evolution of frailty were observed.
Conclusion: No significant associations between plasma Aβ42/40 and frailty were found when APOE ε4 status was not accounted into the model. Nevertheless, APOE ε4 non-carriers with high Aβ burden might be more susceptible to develop frailty.
Keywords: Frailty; amyloid-beta; biomarker; neurodegeneration; older adults.