Cardiorespiratory fitness modifies influence of sleep problems on cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers in an at-risk cohort

Law LL, Sprecher KE, Dougherty RJ, Edwards DF, Koscik RL, Gallagher CL, Carlsson CM, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Asthana S, Sager MA, Hermann BP, Johnson SC, Cook DB, Bendlin BB, Okonkwo OC

J Alzheimers Dis. 2019 Apr 1. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180291. [Epub ahead of print]


BACKGROUND: Previous studies indicate that cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and sleep are each favorably associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology, including reduced amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau pathology. However, few studies have examined CRF and sleep in the same analysis. OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between sleep and core AD cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers among at-risk healthy late-middle-aged adults and determine whether CRF modifies this association. METHODS:Seventy-four adults (age = 64.38±5.48, 68.9% female) from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention participated. Sleep was evaluated using the Medical Outcomes Study Sleep Scale, specifically the Sleep Problems Index I (SPI), which incorporates domains of sleep disturbance, somnolence, sleep adequacy, and shortness of breath. Higher scores indicate greater sleep problems. To assess CRF, participants underwent a graded exercise test. CSF was collected via lumbar puncture, from which Aβ42, total-tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated-tau (p-tau) were immunoassayed. Regression analyses examined the association between SPI and CSF biomarkers, and the interaction between SPI and CRF on these same biomarkers, adjusting for relevant covariates. RESULTS: Higher SPI scores were associated with greater p-tau (p = 0.027) and higher t-tau/Aβ42 (p = 0.021) and p-tau/Aβ42 (p = 0.009) ratios. Analyses revealed significant SPI*CRF interactions for t-tau (p = 0.016), p-tau (p = 0.008), and p-tau/Aβ42 (p = 0.041); with a trend for t-tau/Aβ42 (p = 0.061). Specifically, the relationship between poorer sleep and these biomarkers was significant among less fit individuals, but not among those who were more fit. CONCLUSION: In a late-middle-aged at-risk cohort, CRF attenuated the association between poor sleep and levels of select CSF biomarkers. This suggests fitness may play an important role in preventing AD by protecting against pathology, even in impaired sleep.

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