Association between raised inflammatory markers and cognitive decline in elderly people with type 2 diabetes: the Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study

Riccardo E Marioni, Mark W J Strachan, Rebecca M Reynolds, Gordon D O Lowe, Rory J Mitchell, F Gerry R Fowkes, Brian M Frier, Amanda Jane Lee, Isabella Butcher, Ann Rumley, Gordon D Murray, Ian J Deary, Jackie F Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether circulating levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha are associated with cognitive ability and estimated lifetime cognitive decline in an elderly population with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 1,066 men and women aged 60-75 years with type 2 diabetes and living in Lothian, Scotland (the Edinburgh Type 2 Diabetes Study), was performed. Seven cognitive tests were used to measure abilities in memory, nonverbal reasoning, information processing speed, executive function, and mental flexibility. The results were used to derive a general intelligence factor (g). A vocabulary-based test was administered as an estimate of peak prior cognitive ability. Results on the cognitive tests were assessed for statistical association with inflammatory markers measured in a venous blood sample at the time of cognitive testing. RESULTS: Higher IL-6 and TNF-alpha levels were associated with poorer age- and sex-adjusted scores on the majority of the individual cognitive tests. They were also associated with g using standardized regression coefficients -0.074 to -0.173 (P <0.05). After adjusting for vocabulary, education level, cardiovascular dysfunction, duration of diabetes, and glycemic control, IL-6 remained associated with three of the cognitive tests and with g. CONCLUSIONS: In this representative population of people with type 2 diabetes, elevated circulating levels of inflammatory markers were associated with poorer cognitive ability. IL-6 levels were also associated with estimated lifetime cognitive decline.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-713
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Early online date3 Dec 2009
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • Aged
  • Biological Markers
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


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