Plasma phospholipids and prevalence of mild cognitive impairment and/or dementia in the ARIC Neurocognitive Study (ARIC-NCS)

Danni Li, Jeffrey R. Misialek, Eric Boerwinkle, Rebecca F Gottesman, A. Richey Sharrett, Thomas H. Mosley, Josef Coresh, Lisa M. Wruck, David S. Knopman, Alvaro Alonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: Phospholipids are altered in brains of patients with dementia and some studies suggest their plasma levels may be useful in the detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. Methods: We measured 188 plasma metabolites in participants who underwent a detailed neuropsychological assessment and classified as normal (n = 153), MCI (n = 145), or dementia (n = 143) by expert adjudication. Results: Among 10 phospholipids recently implicated as altered in dementia, higher concentration of PC aa C36:6 was significantly associated with decreased prevalence of dementia (odds ratio = 0.71, 95% confidence interval = 0.50-1.00 per 1-SD increase). Adding these phospholipids to a model including multiple predictors of dementia led to only minimal improvement in detection (C statistic changed from 0.702 to 0.71). Discussion: Some phospholipids and metabolites were altered in MCI and dementia but cross-sectional association was relatively weak and did not improve detection of MCI and dementia beyond information provided by clinical variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring
StatePublished - 2016



  • AD
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • ARIC
  • Dementia
  • MCI
  • Metabolites
  • Metabolomics
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Phospholipids
  • Plasma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Neurology

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