Introduction: World Trade Center (WTC) responders are experiencing a high risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, though the etiology remains inadequately characterized. This study investigated whether WTC exposures and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were correlated with plasma biomarkers characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology. Methods: Eligible participants included WTC-exposed individuals with a baseline cognitive assessment and available plasma sample. We examined levels of the amyloid beta (Aβ)40/42 ratio, phosphorylated tau 181 (p-tau181), and neurofilament light chain (NfL) and associations with a WTC exposures (duration on site ≥15 weeks, dust cloud), the PTSD Symptom Checklist for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition PTSD, and classification of amyloid/tau/neurodegeneration (AT[N]) profiles. Multinomial logistic regressions assessed whether biomarkers predicted increased risk of MCI or dementia. Results: Of 1179 eligible responders, 93.0% were male, mean (standard deviation) age 56.6 years (7.8). Aβ40/42, p-tau181, and NfL intercorrelated and increased with age. In subgroup analyses of responders with available neuroimaging data (n = 75), Aβ40/42 and p-tau181 were further associated with decreased hippocampal volume (Spearman's ρ = −0.3). Overall, 58.08% of responders with dementia had ≥1 elevated biomarker, and 3.45% had elevations across all biomarkers. In total, 248 (21.05%) had MCI and 70 (5.94%) had dementia. Increased risk of dementia was associated with plasma AT(N) profile T+ or A+N+. Exposure on site ≥15 weeks was independently associated with T+ (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] = 1.03 [1.01−1.05], P = 0.009), and T+N+ profile (aRR = 2.34 [1.12−4.87]). The presence of PTSD was independently associated with risk of A+ (aRR = 1.77 [1.11−2.82]). Discussion: WTC exposures and chronic PTSD are associated with plasma biomarkers consistent with neurodegenerative disease.
|Journal||Alzheimer's and Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment and Disease Monitoring|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2023|