Homocysteine, Alzheimer genes and proteins, and measures of cognition and depression in older men

Leon Flickera*, R. N. Martins, J. Thomas, J. Acres, K. Taddei, P. Norman, K. Jamrozik, O. P. Almeida

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE), and the plasma levels of APOE, amyloid β-protein precursor, amyloid β1-40 (Aβ40) and homocysteine (Hcy) have all been correlated with the presence of dementia. Mutations in the methylnetetrahydrofolate reductase enzyme (MTHFR) have been associated with elevated levels of Hcy. This study explored the association of these factors with cognition and depression in community dwelling older men. Two hundred and ninety-nine men, mean age 78.9 years (SD 2.8), were studied in this cross-sectional survey. Mean plasma Hcy was 13.5 (SD 5.3) μmol/L. The MTHFR genotype had no obvious impact on Hcy levels. Ln Hcy and Ln Aβ40 were both inversely correlated with calculated glomerular filtration rate (cGFR), r = -0.41 (p < 0.001) and r = -0.28 (p < 0.001), respectively. There was a positive correlation between Ln Hcy and Ln Aβ40, r = 0.19 (p < 0.001), which remained significant after adjusting for cGFR, with a doubling of Hcy associated with a 24% increase of Aβ40. The ε4 allele was associated with increased depressive symptoms as measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale-15, Odds ratio (OR) = 2.59 (95%CI 1.06-6.34) and poorer performance on the Clock Drawing Test, OR = 2.32 (95% CI: 1.25-4.29). There was a positive association between Aβ40 and Hcy, even after adjustment for cGFR in this sample of well, community dwelling older men. This association may help elucidate the link between elevated levels of Hcy and Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyloid protein
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Cognition
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Geriatric
  • Homocysteine
  • Methylnetetrahydrofolate reductase


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