Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma insulin levels in Alzheimer's disease: relationship to severity of dementia and apolipoprotein E genotype

Neurology. 1998 Jan;50(1):164-8. doi: 10.1212/wnl.50.1.164.


Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) have elevations of fasting plasma insulin that are hypothesized to be associated with disrupted brain insulin metabolism. We examined paired fasted plasma and CSF insulin levels in 25 patients with AD and 14 healthy age-matched adults and determined whether insulin levels were related to severity of dementia and apolipoprotein E-epsilon4 homozygosity, a known genetic risk factor for AD. The AD patients had lower CSF insulin, higher plasma insulin, and a reduced CSF-to-plasma insulin ratio when compared with healthy adults. The differences were greater for patients with more advanced AD. Patients who were not apolipoprotein E-epsilon4 homozygotes had higher plasma insulin levels and reduced CSF-to-plasma ratios, whereas epsilon4 homozygotes with AD had normal values. Both plasma and CSF insulin levels are abnormal in AD, and there are metabolic differences among apolipoprotein E genotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / blood*
  • Alzheimer Disease / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Insulin / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Middle Aged


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Insulin