Homocysteine, vitamin B12, and folic acid levels in Alzheimer's disease, mild cognitive impairment, and healthy elderly: baseline characteristics in subjects of the Australian imaging biomarker lifestyle study

Noel G. Faux, Kathryn A. Ellis, Lorine Porter, Chris J. Fowler, Simon M. Laws, Ralph N. Martins, Kelly K. Pertile, Alan Rembach, Chris C. Rowe, Rebecca L. Rumble, Cassandra Szoeke, Kevin Taddei, Tania Taddei, Brett O. Trounson, Victor L. Villemagne, Vanessa Ward, David Ames, Colin L. Masters, Ashley I. Bush*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is some debate regarding the differing levels of plasma homocysteine, vitamin B12 and serum folate between healthy controls (HC), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and Alzheimer's disease (AD). As part of the Australian Imaging Biomarker Lifestyle (AIBL) study of aging cohort, consisting of 1,112 participants (768 HC, 133 MCI patients, and 211 AD patients), plasma homocysteine, vitamin B12, and serum and red cell folate were measured at baseline to investigate their levels, their inter-associations, and their relationships with cognition. The results of this cross-sectional study showed that homocysteine levels were increased in female AD patients compared to female HC subjects (+16%, p-value < 0.001), but not in males. Red cell folate, but not serum folate, was decreased in AD patients compared to HC (-10%, p-value = 0.004). Composite z-scores of short- and long-term episodic memory, total episodic memory, and global cognition all showed significant negative correlations with homocysteine, in all clinical categories. Increasing red cell folate had a U-shaped association with homocysteine, so that high red cell folate levels were associated with worse long-term episodic memory, total episodic memory, and global cognition. These findings underscore the association of plasma homocysteine with cognitive deterioration, although not unique to AD, and identified an unexpected abnormality of red cell folate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-922
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • biomarker
  • folate
  • homocysteine
  • vitamin B12

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