Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is a circulating enzyme with pro-inflammatory and oxidative activities associated with cardiovascular disease and ischemic stroke. While high plasma Lp-PLA2 activity was reported as a risk factor for dementia in the Rotterdam study, no association between Lp-PLA2 mass and dementia or Alzheimer's disease (AD) was detected in the Framingham study. The objectives of the current study were to explore the relationship of plasma Lp-PLA2 activity with cognitive diagnoses (AD, amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and cognitively healthy subjects), cardiovascular markers, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of AD, and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype.
Subjects with mild AD (n = 78) and aMCI (n = 59) were recruited from the Memory Clinic, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland; cognitively healthy subjects (n = 66) were recruited from the community. Subjects underwent standardised medical, neurological, neuropsychological, imaging, genetic, blood and CSF evaluation. Differences in Lp-PLA2 activity between the cognitive diagnosis groups were tested with ANOVA and in multiple linear regression models with adjustment for covariates. Associations between Lp-PLA2 and markers of cardiovascular disease and AD were explored with Spearman's correlation coefficients.
There was no significant difference in plasma Lp-PLA2 activity between AD (197.1 (standard deviation, SD 38.4) nmol/min/ml) and controls (195.4 (SD 41.9)). Gender, statin use and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) were independently associated with Lp-PLA2 activity in multiple regression models. Lp-PLA2 activity was correlated with LDL and inversely correlated with high-density lipoprotein (HDL). AD subjects with APOE-ε4 had higher Lp-PLA2 activity (207.9 (SD 41.2)) than AD subjects lacking APOE-ε4 (181.6 (SD 26.0), P = 0.003) although this was attenuated by adjustment for LDL (P = 0.09). No strong correlations were detected for Lp-PLA2 activity and CSF markers of AD.
Plasma Lp-PLA2 was not associated with a diagnosis of AD or aMCI in this cross-sectional study. The main clinical correlates of Lp-PLA2 activity in AD, aMCI and cognitively healthy subjects were variables associated with lipid metabolism.