Concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines -interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) - are increased with age and in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It is not clear whether concentrations of IL-6 and IL-8 in the central nervous system predict later brain and cognitive changes over time nor whether this relationship is mediated by core AD biomarkers. Here, 219 cognitively healthy older adults (62-91 years), with baseline cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) measures of IL-6 and IL-8 were followed over time - up to 9 years - with assessments that included cognitive function, structural magnetic resonance imaging, and CSF measurements of phosphorylated tau (p-tau) and amyloid-β (Aβ-42) concentrations (for a subsample). Higher baseline CSF IL-8 was associated with better memory performance over time in the context of lower levels of CSF p-tau and p-tau/Aβ-42 ratio. Higher CSF IL-6 was related to less CSF p-tau changes over time. The results are in line with the hypothesis suggesting that an up-regulation of IL-6 and IL-8 in the brain may play a neuroprotective role in cognitively healthy older adults with lower load of AD pathology.
Keywords: AD biomarkers; Cerebrospinal fluid; Cognitively unimpaired older adults; Interleukin-6; Interleukin-8; Longitudinal MRI.
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