It is unknown whether the relationship between raised inflammatory biomarker levels and late-life cognitive ability is causal. We explored this issue by testing the association between genetic regulators of plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) and cognition. Data were analysed from four cohorts based in central Scotland (Total N = 4,782). Associations were tested between variants in the CRP gene and both plasma CRP levels and a battery of neuropsychological tests, including a vocabulary-based estimate of peak prior cognitive ability and a general (summary) cognitive factor score, or 'g'. CRP levels were associated with a number of variants in the CRP gene (SNPs), including rs1205, rs1130864, rs1800947, and rs1417938 (P range 4.2e-06 to 0.041). Higher CRP levels were also associated with vocabulary-adjusted cognitive ability, used here to estimate lifetime cognitive change (P range 1.7e-04 to 0.038). After correction for multiple testing and adjustment for age and sex, no statistically significant associations were found between the SNPs and cognition. CRP is unlikely to be a causal determinant of late-life cognitive ability.
- MENDELIAN RANDOMIZATION
- Cognitive decline
- Single nucleotide polymorphism
- C-reactive protein