Associations of cerebrospinal fluid amyloidogenic nanoplaques with cytokines in Alzheimer's disease

Transl Neurodegener. 2021 Jun 8;10(1):18. doi: 10.1186/s40035-021-00244-3.


Background: The aggregation of amyloid β (Aβ) is central in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently it has been shown that specifically, larger, Thioflavin T-binding Aβ aggregates are associated with increased neuroinflammation and cytokine release. This study was aimed to quantify fibrillary amyloid aggregates, so-called nanoplaques, and investigate their relationship with cytokines in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

Methods: CSF was collected from 111 patients assessed for cognitive complaints at the Oslo University Hospital Memory Clinic. The patients were grouped based on their amyloid status. The CSF nanoplaque concentration was quantified with the Thioflavin T-fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (ThT-FCS) assay. The levels of nine cytokines (eotaxin-1, granulocyte stimulating factor, interleukin [IL]-6, IL-7, IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, gamma-induced protein 10, macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-1α, and MIP-1β) were quantified with a magnetic bead-based multiplex assay and read on a Luminex IS 200 instrument.

Results: There were 49 amyloid-negative and 62 amyloid-positive patients in the cohort; none of the cytokines differed significantly between the amyloid groups. The increased nanoplaque levels were associated with levels of MIP-1β below the lower limit of quantification, and with decreased levels of MIP-1α and IL-8. The associations remained significant when adjusted for age, sex, cognitive function, apolipoprotein ε4 status and CSF core biomarker levels.

Conclusion: The cytokine levels were not associated with amyloid status in this cohort. The nanoplaque levels were negatively associated with MIP-1β, MIP-1α and IL-8, which is in line with recent findings suggesting that the upregulation of some cytokine markers has a protective role and is negatively associated with AD progression.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Amyloid; Amyloid beta peptides; Amyloidogenic proteins; Biomarkers; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cytokines; Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy; Inflammation; Thioflavin T.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Biomarkers / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Nanoparticles
  • Plaque, Amyloid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines