Vascular mechanisms in dementia with special reference to folate and fibrinolysis
Sammanfattning: The aim of this thesis was to study the biomarker homocysteine and other novel potential vascular risk factors for dementia. In an out-patient based study of a cohort of 926 consecutive subjects referred to our Memory Unit during 1996―2000, serum-folate was lower and total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) and serum methyl malonate were higher in subjects being prescribed with B12. In the subgroup diagnosed with dementia and with a positive family history of dementia, tHcy was higher than in the subgroup diagnosed as non-demented. It is necessary to supplement subjects with vitamin B12 deficiency with B12, but our results indicate that it is not sufficient with B12 alone because this gives rise to intracellular folate deficiency. We also found indications of a genetic component in dementia because tHcy was higher in the group with a positive family history of dementia. These findings prompted further studies of homocysteine metabolism. The frequency of mutations in the gene for folate receptor-α (FOLR-1), and the fibrinolytic pattern in dementia and non-dementia were studied in the two cohorts DGM (n=300) and AS (n=389). The DGM cohort is a consecutive series of subjects attending our Memory Care Unit for investigation of suspected cognitive problems or dementia between 2003 - 2007. The AS (= active seniors) cohort comprises retired, apparently healthy subjects from central Sweden, actively participating in study circles. A rare haplotype in the FOLR-1, with mutations in two nearby loci, was discovered, possibly associated with lower serum-folate and higher tHcy concentrations and was more frequent in the DGM group. The transport of folate to the CSF was studied in the DGM-cohort. Dementia with a vascular component was associated with a lower CSF to serum folate ratio indicative of reduced transport of folate to the CSF and further to the brain. The vascular endothelial derived fibrinolytic markers tPA, tPA/PAI-1-complex, and vWF were not only higher in vascular dementia (VaD) but also in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) when compared to the AS group. The impaired fibrinolytic activity in both vascular dementia and in AD is a novel finding, signifying a vascular component in the development of dementia. In conclusion we found that both hereditary and nutritional background factors were linked to dementia and furthermore that a dysregulated fibrinolysis was linked to both VaD and AD.
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