Identification of circulating proteins associated with general cognitive function among middle-aged and older adults

Adrienne Tin*, Alison E. Fohner*, Qiong Yang, Jennifer A. Brody, Gail Davies, Jie Yao, Dan Liu, Ilana Caro, Joni V. Lindbohm, Michael R. Duggan, Osorio Meirelles, Sarah E. Harris, Valborg Gudmundsdottir, Adele M. Taylor, Albert Henry, Alexa S. Beiser, Ali Shojaie, Annabell Coors, Annette L. Fitzpatrick, Claudia LangenbergClaudia L. Satizabal, Colleen M. Sitlani, Eleanor Wheeler, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob, Jan Bressler, Josef Coresh, Joshua C. Bis, Julián Candia, Lori L. Jennings, Maik Pietzner, Mark Lathrop, Oscar L. Lopez, Paul Redmond, Robert E. Gerszten, Stephen S. Rich, Susan R. Heckbert, Thomas R. Austin, Timothy M. Hughes, Toshiko Tanaka, Valur Emilsson, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Xiuqing Guo, Yineng Zhu, Christophe Tzourio, Jerome I. Rotter, Keenan A. Walker, Luigi Ferrucci, Mika Kivimäki, Monique M.B. Breteler, Simon R. Cox, Stephanie Debette, Thomas H. Mosley, Vilmundur G. Gudnason, Lenore J. Launer, Bruce M. Psaty, Sudha Seshadri, Myriam Fornage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Identifying circulating proteins associated with cognitive function may point to biomarkers and molecular process of cognitive impairment. Few studies have investigated the association between circulating proteins and cognitive function. We identify 246 protein measures quantified by the SomaScan assay as associated with cognitive function (p < 4.9E-5, n up to 7289). Of these, 45 were replicated using SomaScan data, and three were replicated using Olink data at Bonferroni-corrected significance. Enrichment analysis linked the proteins associated with general cognitive function to cell signaling pathways and synapse architecture. Mendelian randomization analysis implicated higher levels of NECTIN2, a protein mediating viral entry into neuronal cells, with higher Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk (p = 2.5E-26). Levels of 14 other protein measures were implicated as consequences of AD susceptibility (p < 2.0E-4). Proteins implicated as causes or consequences of AD susceptibility may provide new insight into the potential relationship between immunity and AD susceptibility as well as potential therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1117
Pages (from-to)1117
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).

Other keywords

  • Middle Aged
  • Humans
  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction
  • Neurons
  • Biomarkers


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