Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation is Associated with Domain-Specific Cognitive Performance and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: Data from The TUDA Study

Adam H. Dyer, H McNulty, Aoife Caffrey, Shane Gordon, Eamon Laird, L. Hoey, Catherine Hughes, M Ward, JJ Strain, Maurice O'Kane, Fergal Tracey, Anne M. Molloy, Conal Cunningham, Kevin McCarroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies examining the relationships between chronic inflammation, cognitive function and cognitive decline in older adults have yielded conflicting results. In a large cohort of older adults free from established dementia (n = 3270; 73.1 ± 7.9 years; 68.4% female), we evaluated the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between serum cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α) and both global and domain-specific cognitive performance (Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status [RBANS]). Higher IL-6 (OR: 1.33; 1.06, 1.66, p = 0.01),
TNF-α (OR: 1.35; 1.09, 1.67, p = 0.01) and IL-6:IL-10 Ratio (OR: 1.43; 1.17, 1.74, p = 0.001) were cross-sectionally associated with impaired global RBANS performance. For specific cognitive domains, greatest effect sizes were observed between higher TNF-α levels and poorer visual-spatial and attention performance. In a subset of participants (n = 725; 69.8 ± 5.5 years; 67.0% female) with repeat assessment performed at a median of 5.4 years, only higher baseline IL-6:IL-10 ratio was associated with impaired incident overall, immediate memory and visual-spatial performance. Associations were stronger in females, but not modified by age or APOE genotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-105
Number of pages12
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Trinity Ulster Department of Agriculture ( TUDA ) study was supported by government funding from the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Health Research Board (under the Food Institutional Research Measure) and from the Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (under its Strengthening the All-Island Research Base initiative). AHD is supported by the Meath Foundation at Tallaght University Hospital , the Wellcome-HRB Clinical Research Facility at St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland and has been awarded an Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT ) Fellowship the Irish Clinical Academic Training (ICAT) Programme, supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Health Research Board (Grant Number 203930/B/16/Z ), the Health Service Executive , National Doctors Training and Planning and the Health and Social Care, Research and Development Division, Northern Ireland.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.


  • Inflammation
  • Inflammaging
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Neuropsychological
  • Cytokine


Dive into the research topics of 'Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation is Associated with Domain-Specific Cognitive Performance and Cognitive Decline in Older Adults: Data from The TUDA Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this