C-reactive protein is related to memory and medial temporal brain volume in older adults

Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, Memory and Aging Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Brain Behavior and Immunity (Impact Factor: 5.89). 08/2011; 26(1):103-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.240
Source: PubMed


Recent research suggests a central role for inflammatory mechanisms in cognitive decline that may occur prior to evidence of neurodegeneration. Limited information exists, however, regarding the relationship between low-grade inflammation and cognitive function in healthy older adults. This study examined the relation between inflammation, verbal memory consolidation, and medial temporal lobe volumes in a cohort of older community-dwelling subjects. Subjects included 141 functionally intact, community-dwelling older adults with detectable (n=76) and undetectable (n=65) levels of C-reactive protein. A verbal episodic memory measure was administered to all subjects, and measures of delayed recall and recognition memory were assessed. A semiautomated parcellation program was used to analyze structural MRI scans. On the episodic memory task, analysis of covariance revealed a significant CRP group by memory recall interaction, such that participants with detectable levels of CRP evidenced worse performance after a delay compared to those with undetectable levels of CRP. Individuals with detectable CRP also demonstrated lower performance on a measure of recognition memory. Imaging data demonstrated smaller left medial temporal lobe volumes in the detectable CRP group as compared with the undetectable CRP group. These findings underscore a potential role for inflammation in cognitive aging as a modifiable risk factor.

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