Blood-Derived Progenitor Cells Are Depleted in Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: A Role for Vascular Resilience?

Anisa J. Marshall, Aimee Gaubert, Arunima Kapoor, Alick Tan, Elissa McIntosh, Jung Yun Jang, Belinda Yew, Jean K. Ho, Anna E. Blanken, Shubir Dutt, Isabel J. Sible, Yanrong Li, Kathleen Rodgers, Daniel A. Nation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Depletion of blood-derived progenitor cells, including so called "early endothelial progenitor cells", has been observed in individuals with early stage Alzheimer's disease relative to matched older control subjects. These findings could implicate the loss of angiogenic support from hematopoietic progenitors or endothelial progenitors in cognitive dysfunction. OBJECTIVE: To investigate links between progenitor cell proliferation and mild levels of cognitive dysfunction. METHODS: We conducted in vitro studies of blood-derived progenitor cells using blood samples from sixty-five older adults who were free of stroke or dementia. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from venous blood samples were cultured in CFU-Hill media and the number of colony forming units were counted after 5 days in vitro. Neuropsychological testing was administered to all participants. RESULTS: Fewer colony forming units were observed in samples from older adults with a Clinical Dementia Rating global score of 0.5 versus 0. Older adults whose samples developed fewer colony forming units exhibited worse performance on neuropsychological measures of memory, executive functioning, and language ability. CONCLUSION: These data suggest blood progenitors may represent a vascular resilience marker related to cognitive dysfunction in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1050
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • progenitor cells
  • vascular resilience


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