Background: A growing body of evidence highlights the crucial role of neuroinflammation and chemokine involvement in cognitive impairment pathophysiology. Fractalkine (CX3CL1) appears to be a relevant causative factor in the development of dementia, particularly at the early stages of the disease. However, limited data are available on the levels of CX3CL1 in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood. Additionally, to date, its utility as a biomarker for MCI or AD has not been studied.
Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the clinical utility of CX3CL1 in the early diagnosis of cognitive impairment. We also compared the diagnostic usefulness of CX3CL1 with other biomarkers associated with neuroinflammation.
Methods: A total of 60 patients with cognitive impairment, including 42 patients with AD and 18 subjects with MCI, as well as 20 cognitively healthy controls were enrolled in the study. CSF and blood concentrations of CX3CL1, CCL-2, and YKL-40 were measured by ELISA.
Results: Significantly higher CSF and blood concentrations of CX3CL1 were observed in MCI and AD patients compared to older individuals without cognitive impairment. The increase in the levels of CX3CL1 and YKL-40 in non-demented subjects was associated with MCI. The area under the ROC curve for CX3CL1 in MCI subjects was larger in comparison to classical AD markers.
Conclusion: Presented results indicate a crucial role of CX3CL1 in the pathology of cognitive impairment and the potential usefulness of this protein in the early diagnosis of MCI and AD.