Long-term cortisol measures predict Alzheimer disease risk

Gilda E. Ennis, Yang An, Susan M. Resnick, Luigi Ferrucci, Richard J. O'Brien, Scott D. Moffat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To examine whether long-term measures of cortisol predict Alzheimer disease (AD) risk. Method: We used a prospective longitudinal design to examine whether cortisol dysregulation was related to AD risk. Participants were from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and submitted multiple 24-hour urine samples over an average interval of 10.56 years. Urinary free cortisol (UFC) and creatinine (Cr) were measured, and a UFC/Cr ratio was calculated to standardize UFC. To measure cortisol regulation, we used within-person UFC/Cr level (i.e., within-person mean), change in UFC/Cr over time (i.e., within-person slope), and UFC/Cr variability (i.e., within-person coefficient of variation). Cox regression was used to assess whether UFC/Cr measures predicted AD risk. Results: UFC/Cr level and UFC/Cr variability, but not UFC/Cr slope, were significant predictors of AD risk an average of 2.9 years before AD onset. Elevated UFC/Cr level and elevated UFC/Cr variability were related to a 1.31- and 1.38-times increase in AD risk, respectively. In a sensitivity analysis, increased UFC/Cr level and increased UFC/Cr variability predicted increased AD risk an average of 6 years before AD onset. Conclusions: Cortisol dysregulation as manifested by high UFC/Cr level and high UFC/Cr variability may modulate the downstream clinical expression of AD pathology or be a preclinical marker of AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalNeurology
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 24 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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    Ennis, G. E., An, Y., Resnick, S. M., Ferrucci, L., O'Brien, R. J., & Moffat, S. D. (2017). Long-term cortisol measures predict Alzheimer disease risk. Neurology, 88(4), 371-378. https://doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000003537