Associations between Plasmatic Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Concentrations and Cognitive Status and Decline in Neurocognitive Disorders

Abstract

Objective

To examine the association of plasmatic and erythrocyte concentrations polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) with both cognitive status and decline.

Design

Longitudinal observational cohort study. Setting: Memory Clinic of Lyon Sud university hospital.

Participants

140 patients, aged 60 and older, were referred to the memory clinic, and successively included in the cohort, between March 2010 and February 2014.

Measurements

Concentration of ω-3 PUFA (eicosapentaenoic: EPA and docosahexaenoic: DHA) and ω-6 PUFA (arachidonic: AA), were measured at baseline in plasma and in the erythrocytes membrane. Cognitive status was assessed using the mini mental state examination (MMSE), at baseline and every six months during follow-up. The median follow-up period was of 11,5 months.

Results

Compared to participants with minor neurocognitive disorders (MMSE≥24), participants with major neurocognitive disorders (NCD) had lower plasmatic concentrations of EPA and DHA (p<0.05) at baseline. Erythrocyte AA and DHA concentrations were significantly lower in patients with cognitive decline (defined as a ≥2 points loss of MMSE per year), while no difference in plasmatic concentrations was observed.

Conclusions

Our study suggests that ω-3 PUFA plasma concentrations (mainly EPA and DHA) could be associated with cognitive status in older people. Moreover, in this exploratory study, lower erythrocyte PUFA concentrations (AA and DHA) were associated with accelerated decline and could be proposed as a surrogate marker for prediction of cognitive decline.

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Table 1
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Table 5

Abbreviations

AA:

arachidonic acid

AAL:

alpha-linolenic acid

AD:

Alzheimer disease

ADL:

Activities of daily living

AL:

linolenic acid

CPG:

choline phosphoglycerides

CSF:

Cerebrospinal fluid

DHA:

docosahexaenoic acid

EC:

cholesteryl esters

EPA:

eicosapentaenoic acid

EPG:

ethanolamine phosphoglycerides

FA:

fatty acids

IADL:

Instrumental activities of daily living

MCI:

mild cognitive impairment

MMSE:

mini mental state examination

MRI:

Magnetic resonance imaging

NCD:

Neurocognitive disorders

Palm:

palmitic acid

PL:

phospholipid

PUFA:

poly unsaturated fatty acids.

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Correspondence to Marine Haution-Bitker.

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Haution-Bitker, M., Gilbert, T., Vignoles, A. et al. Associations between Plasmatic Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Concentrations and Cognitive Status and Decline in Neurocognitive Disorders. J Nutr Health Aging 22, 718–725 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-018-1010-z

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Key words

  • Dementia
  • neurocognitive disorders
  • biomarkers
  • fatty acids
  • erythrocytes membrane