Abstract MP88: Fetuin-A, a Vascular Biomarker of Cognitive Decline in Older Adults
Objectives: The contribution of vascular disease to neurocognitive decline is now widely recognized. Fetuin-A is an abundant plasma protein known to predict vascular disease. Prior studies have shown that fetuin-A levels are lower in patients with Alzheimer’s disease in direct proportion to the severity of cognitive impairment; however, their association with normal cognitive aging is unknown. We evaluated the association of serum fetuin-A levels with cognitive function in relatively high-functioning, community-dwelling older adults from the Rancho Bernardo Study.
Methods: This is a population-based study of 1382 older adults (median age 75) who had plasma fetuin-A levels and cognitive function evaluated in 1992-96; 855 had repeat cognitive function assessment a median of 4 years later.
Results: Adjusting for age, sex, education, and depression, higher levels of fetuin-A were associated with better baseline performance on the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) (P=0.012) and a tendency for better Trails Making B scores (P=0.066). In longitudinal analyses, the likelihood of a major decline (highest decile of change) in Trails B was 29% lower (P=0.010) for each SD higher baseline fetuin-A level; odds of major decline in MMSE was 42% lower (P=0.005) per SD higher fetuin-A for individuals with no known CVD, but were not related to fetuin-A in those with CVD (P=0.33). Fetuin-A was not related to Category Fluency performance. Results did not vary by sex and were not explained by numerous vascular risk factors and comorbidities.
Conclusions: Higher plasma fetuin-A concentrations are associated with better performance on tests of global cognitive function and executive function and with reduced likelihood of major decline in these cognitive abilities over a 4-year period. These observations are consistent with the hypothesis that higher fetuin-A protects against cognitive decline in relatively high functioning older adults, although this may be less apparent in those with established vascular disease. Fetuin-A may serve as a biological link between vascular disease and normal age-related cognitive decline.
Author Disclosures: G.A. Laughlin: None. L.K. McEvoy: None. E. Barrett-Connor: None. L.B. Daniels: None. J.H. Ix: None.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, Western States Affiliate (California, Nevada & Utah).
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.