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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;22(6):536-42.

Depression is associated with low plasma Abeta42 independently of cardiovascular disease in the homebound elderly.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.



Depression often precedes the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD) before the appearance of cognitive symptoms. Plasma Amyloid-beta peptide 42 (Abeta42) declines before and soon after the onset of AD, yet the relationship between plasma Abeta42 and depression is unclear.


We used 515 homebound elders aged 60 and older in a population-based, cross-sectional study to investigate associations between plasma Abeta levels and depression with and without cardiovascular co-morbidities. Depression was evaluated by using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale. Plasma Abeta40 and Abeta42 were measured.


The elderly with depression had lower plasma Abeta42 (median: 15.3 vs. 18.9, p = 0.008) than those without depression. The CES-D score was inversely associated with plasma Abeta42 (p = 0.001) in subjects with no cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, in the presence of CVD, this association did not exist. Low plasma Abeta42 (OR = 0.41, p = 0.007) and the presence of CVD (OR = 1.84, p = 0.005) were independently associated with depression after adjusting for the confounders of age, stroke and apolipoprotein E4.


Depressive symptoms are associated with low plasma Abeta42 independently of CVD. Prospective studies are needed to determine whether depression associated with low plasma Abeta42 is a separate depression subtype that could predict the onset of AD.

Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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