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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2015 Apr;122(4):523-30. doi: 10.1007/s00702-014-1357-1. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Association of increased carotid intima-media thickness and lower plasma levels of vitamin C and vitamin E in old age subjects: implications for Alzheimer's disease.

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Geriatrics Department, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany,


In light of the recent advances regarding the role of vascularity in Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology, the relationship between plasma levels and activities of the major antioxidant molecules and the carotid intima-media thickness (C-IMT) of older persons with no or very mild cognitive impairment was evaluated. The underlying hypothesis is that the IMT may be an indirect index of vascular damage in persons with low levels of plasma antioxidants. Plasma levels of vitamins A, C, E, of uric acid as well as activities of the plasma antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were measured. Plasma levels of vitamins C and E significantly decreased among participants from the first to the fourth IMT quartile, with a linear slope only for vitamin C. Compared to participants in the lowest vitamin C quartile, the probability to have IMT >1.2 mm significantly decreased among persons from the second to the fourth quartile independent of confounders. In conclusion, only vitamin C plasma levels appear to be selectively associated with the risk of increasing C-IMT. An adequate vitamin C status might be particularly important for protection against AD and other clinical manifestations of vascular and cognitive ageing.

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