Plasma Alzheimer’s biomarkers and brain amyloid in Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults

Congratulations to Drs. Steven DeKosky, Karen McFarland, Melissa Armstrong and David Vaillancourt, on the publication of “Plasma Alzheimer’s biomarkers and brain amyloid in Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults,” which appears in the September issue of Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.


Alzheimer’s disease studies often lack ethnic diversity.
We evaluated associations between plasma biomarkers commonly studied in Alzheimer’s (p-tau181, GFAP, and NfL), clinical diagnosis (clinically normal, amnestic MCI, amnestic dementia, or non-amnestic MCI/dementia), and Aβ-PET in Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults. Hispanics were predominantly of Cuban or South American ancestry.
Three-hundred seventy nine participants underwent blood draw (71.9 ± 7.8 years old, 60.2% female, 57% Hispanic of which 88% were Cuban or South American) and 240 completed Aβ-PET. P-tau181 was higher in amnestic MCI (p = 0.004, d = 0.53) and dementia (p < 0.001, d = 0.97) than in clinically normal participants and discriminated Aβ-PET[+] and Aβ-PET[-] (AUC = 0.86). P-tau181 outperformed GFAP and NfL. There were no significant interactions with ethnicity. Among amnestic MCI, Hispanics had lower odds of elevated p-tau181 than non-Hispanic (OR = 0.41, p = 0.006).
Plasma p-tau181 informs etiological diagnosis of cognitively impaired Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults. Hispanic ethnicity may relate to greater likelihood of non-Alzheimer’s contributions to memory loss.
Alzheimer’s biomarkers were measured in Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults. Plasma p-tau181 related to amnestic cognitive decline and brain amyloid burden. AD biomarker associations did not differ between Hispanic and non-Hispanic ethnicity. Hispanic individuals may be more likely to have non-Alzheimer causes of memory loss.