Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-2 in at-risk adults and autopsy-confirmed Alzheimer brains

Brain. 2023 Nov 22:awad398. doi: 10.1093/brain/awad398. Online ahead of print.


Insulin, insulin-like growth factors (IGF) and their receptors are highly expressed in the adult hippocampus. Thus, disturbances in the insulin-IGF signaling pathway may account for the selective vulnerability of the hippocampus to nascent Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology. In the present study, we examined the predominant IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) - IGFBP2. CSF was collected from 109 asymptomatic members of the parental history-positive PREVENT-AD cohort. CSF levels of IGFBP2, core AD biomarkers and synaptic biomarkers were measured using proximity extension assay, ELISA and mass spectrometry. Cortical amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau deposition were examined using 18F-NAV4694 and flortaucipir. Cognitive assessments were performed up to 8 years of follow-up, using the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status. T1-weighted structural MRI scans were acquired, and neuroimaging analyses were performed on pre-specified temporal and parietal brain regions. Next, in an independent cohort, we allocated 241 dementia-free ADNI-1 participants into four stages of AD progression based on the biomarkers CSF Aβ42 and total-tau (t-tau). In this analysis, differences in CSF and plasma IGFBP2 levels were examined across the pathological stages. Finally, IGFBP2 mRNA and protein levels were examined in the frontal cortex of 55 autopsy-confirmed AD and 31 control brains from the QFP cohort, a unique population isolate from Eastern Canada. CSF IGFBP2 progressively increased over 5 years in asymptomatic PREVENT-AD participants. Baseline CSF IGFBP2 was positively correlated with CSF AD biomarkers and synaptic biomarkers, and was negatively correlated with longitudinal changes in delayed memory (P = 0.024) and visuospatial abilities (P = 0.019). CSF IGFBP2 was negatively correlated at a trend-level with entorhinal cortex volume (P = 0.082) and cortical thickness in the piriform (P = 0.039), inferior temporal (P = 0.008), middle temporal (P = 0.014) and precuneus (P = 0.033) regions. In ADNI-1, CSF (P = 0.009) and plasma (P = 0.001) IGFBP2 were significantly elevated in Stage 2 (CSF Aβ(+)/t-tau(+)). In survival analyses in ADNI-1, elevated plasma IGFBP2 was associated with a greater rate of AD conversion (HR = 1.62, P = 0.021). In the QFP cohort, IGFBP2 mRNA was reduced (P = 0.049), however IGFBP2 protein levels did not differ in the frontal cortex of autopsy-confirmed AD brains (P = 0.462). Nascent AD pathology may induce an upregulation in IGFBP2, in asymptomatic individuals. CSF and plasma IGFBP2 may be valuable markers for identifying CSF Aβ(+)/t-tau(+) individuals and those with a greater risk of AD conversion.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; RBANS; cerebrospinal fluid; insulin-like growth factor; insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-2; post-mortem brain tissue.