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BACKGROUND: Plasma amyloid-β (Aβ) levels are increasingly studied as a potential, accessible marker of cognitive impairment and dementia. The most common plasma Aβ isoforms, i.e., Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 have been linked with risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, it remains under-explored whether plasma Aβ levels including novel Aβ1-38 relate to vascular brain disease and cognition in a preclinical-phase of dementiaObjective:To examine the association of plasma Aβ levels (i.e., Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40, and Aβ1-42) with markers of cerebral small vessel disease (SVD) and cognition in a large population-based setting. METHODS: We analyzed plasma Aβ1 levels in 1201 subjects from two independent cohorts of the Rotterdam Study. Markers of SVD [lacunes, white matter hyperintensity (WMH) volume] were assessed on brain MRI (1.5T). Cognition was assessed by a detailed neuropsychological battery. In each cohort, the association of Aβ levels with SVD and cognition was performed using regression models. Estimates were then pooled across cohorts using inverse variance meta-analysis with fixed effects. RESULTS: Higher levels of plasma Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42, and Aβ1-40/ Aβ1-42 ratio were associated with increasing lacunar and microbleeds counts. Moreover, higher levels of Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-40/ Aβ1-42 were significantly associated with larger WMH volumes. With regard to cognition, a higher level of Aβ1-38 Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-40/ Aβ1-42 was related to worse performance on cognitive test specifically in memory domain. CONCLUSION: Higher plasma levels of Aβ levels are associated with subclinical markers of vascular disease and poorer memory. Plasma Aβ levels thus mark the presence of vascular brain pathology.

Original publication




Journal article


J Alzheimers Dis

Publication Date





977 - 987


Cerebral small vessel disease, cognition, magnetic resonance imaging, plasma amyloid-β levels, population-based, Aged, Amyloid beta-Peptides, Brain, Cerebral Small Vessel Diseases, Cognition, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Meta-Analysis as Topic, Netherlands, Neuropsychological Tests, Peptide Fragments, Prospective Studies, Regression Analysis