The Association between Plasma Ceramides and Sphingomyelins and Risk of Alzheimer's Disease Differs by Sex and APOE in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging

Michelle M. Mielke, Norman Haughey, Dingfen Han, Yang An, Veera Venkata Ratnam Bandaru, Constantine G Lyketsos, Luigi Ferrucci, Susan M. Resnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Cellular and animal studies demonstrated relationships between sphingolipid metabolism and Alzheimer disease (AD) pathology. High blood ceramide levels have been shown to predict cognitive impairment and AD, but these studies had small sample sizes and did not assess differences in risk by sex or APOE genotype. Objective: To determine whether plasma ceramides and sphingomyelins were associated with risk of AD, and whether the association varied by sex and APOE genotype. Methods: Participants included 626 men and 366 women, aged 55 years and older, enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Plasma ceramides and sphingomyelins were determined using quantitative analyses performed on a highperformance liquid chromatography coupled electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometer. Cox proportional hazards models, stratified by sex, were used to examine the relationship of plasma ceramides and sphingomyelins with risk of AD over a mean (SD) follow-up of 15.0 (7.0) years for men and 13.1 (5.9) years for women. Results: Among men, the highest tertile of most ceramides and sphingomyelins were associated with an increased risk of AD. Among women, there were no associations between any of the ceramides and risk of AD. In contrast, women in the highest tertile of most sphingomyelins had a reduced risk of AD, which was most pronounced among APOEe4 carriers. Conclusion: These results provide further evidence for the role of sphingolipid metabolism in AD and highlight the importance of considering sex and APOE genotype in assessing this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-828
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Alzheimers disease
  • ceramides
  • cohort study
  • Epidemiology
  • lipids
  • longitudinal
  • sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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