Potential Biomarkers for Post-Stroke Cognitive Impairment: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 6;23(2):602. doi: 10.3390/ijms23020602.


Stroke is a primary debilitating disease in adults, occurring in 15 million individuals each year and causing high mortality and disability rates. The latest estimate revealed that stroke is currently the second leading cause of death worldwide. Post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI), one of the major complications after stroke, is frequently underdiagnosed. However, stroke has been reported to increase the risk of cognitive impairment by at least five to eight times. In recent decades, peripheral blood molecular biomarkers for stroke have emerged as diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic targets. In this study, we aimed to evaluate some blood-derived proteins for stroke, especially related to brain damage and cognitive impairments, by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis and discussing the possibility of these proteins as biomarkers for PSCI. Articles published before 26 July 2021 were searched in PubMed, Embase, the Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library to identify all relevant studies reporting blood biomarkers in patients with stroke. Among 1820 articles, 40 were finally identified for this study. We meta-analyzed eight peripheral biomarker candidates: homocysteine (Hcy), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), C-reactive protein (CRP), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), uric acid, and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c). The Hcy, CRP, TC, and LDL-C levels were significantly higher in patients with PSCI than in the non-PSCI group; however, the HDL-C, TG, uric acid, and HbA1c levels were not different between the two groups. Based on our findings, we suggest the Hcy, CRP, TC, and LDL-C as possible biomarkers in patients with post-stroke cognitive impairment. Thus, certain blood proteins could be suggested as effective biomarkers for PSCI.

Keywords: blood biomarker; cognitive impairment; dementia; post-stroke cognitive impairment; stroke.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Stroke / blood*
  • Stroke / complications*


  • Biomarkers