Association of CSF, Plasma, and Imaging Markers of Neurodegeneration with Clinical Progression in People with Subjective Cognitive Decline

Jarith L Ebenau, Wiesje Pelkmans, Inge M W Verberk, Sander Verfaillie, Karlijn A van den Bosch, Mardou van Leeuwenstijn, Lyduine Collij, Philip Scheltens, Niels Prins, Frederik Barkhof, Bart van Berckel, Charlotte E Teunissen, Wiesje M Van der Flier

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Background and ObjectivesMultiple biomarkers have been suggested to measure neurodegeneration (N) in the AT(N) framework, leading to inconsistencies between studies. We investigated the association of 5 N biomarkers with clinical progression and cognitive decline in individuals with subjective cognitive decline (SCD).MethodsWe included individuals with SCD from the Amsterdam Dementia Cohort and SCIENCe project, a longitudinal cohort study (follow-up 4±3 years). We used the following N biomarkers: CSF total tau (t-tau), medial temporal atrophy visual rating on MRI, hippocampal volume (HV), serum neurofilament light (NfL), and serum glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). We determined correlations between biomarkers. We assessed associations between N biomarkers and clinical progression to mild cognitive impairment or dementia (Cox regression) and Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) over time (linear mixed models). Models included age, sex, CSF β-amyloid (Aβ) (A), and CSF p-tau (T) as covariates, in addition to the N biomarker.ResultWe included 401 individuals (61±9 years, 42% female, MMSE 28 ± 2, vascular comorbidities 8%-19%). N biomarkers were modestly to moderately correlated (range r -0.28 - 0.58). Serum NfL and GFAP correlated most strongly (r 0.58, p < 0.01). T-tau was strongly correlated with p-tau (r 0.89, p < 0.01), although these biomarkers supposedly represent separate biomarker groups. All N biomarkers individually predicted clinical progression, but only HV, NfL, and GFAP added predictive value beyond Aβ and p-tau (hazard ratio 1.52 [95% CI 1.11-2.09]; 1.51 [1.05-2.17]; 1.50 [1.04-2.15]). T-tau, HV, and GFAP individually predicted MMSE slope (range β -0.17 to -0.11, p < 0.05), but only HV remained associated beyond Aβ and p-tau (β -0.13 [SE 0.04]; p < 0.05).DiscussionIn cognitively unimpaired older adults, correlations between different N biomarkers were only moderate, indicating they reflect different aspects of neurodegeneration and should not be used interchangeably. T-tau was strongly associated with p-tau (T), which makes it less desirable to use as a measure for N. HV, NfL, and GFAP predicted clinical progression beyond A and T. Our results do not allow to choose one most suitable biomarker for N, but illustrate the added prognostic value of N beyond A and T.Classification of EvidenceThis study provides Class II evidence that HV, NfL, and GFAP predicted clinical progression beyond A and T in individuals with SCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1315-E1326
Issue number13
Early online date2 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2022

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