Plasma leptin, but not adiponectin, is associated with cognitive impairment in older adults


  • I. Feinkohl
  • J. Janke
  • A.J.C. Slooter
  • G. Winterer
  • C. Spies
  • T. Pischon


  • Psychoneuroendocrinology


  • Psychoneuroendocrinology 120: 104783


  • BACKGROUND: Leptin and adiponectin are adipose-tissue derived hormones primarily involved in glucose, lipid, and energy metabolism, inflammation, and atherosclerosis. Both adipokines may cross the blood-brain barrier but evidence on their roles in cognitive impairment is limited and conflicting. Here, we determined associations of plasma adipokine concentration with cognitive impairment in older adults. METHODS: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from 669 participants aged ≥65 years of the Biomarker Development for Postoperative Cognitive Impairment in the Elderly (BioCog) study were recruited 2014–2017 at study sites in Berlin, Germany and Utrecht, the Netherlands. Cognitive impairment was defined as the lowest tertile of a cognitive summary score derived from six neuropsychological tests. RESULTS: After adjustment for age, sex, fasting, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, and coronary heart disease, higher leptin concentrations and a higher leptin/adiponectin ratio (LAR) were associated with a higher odds of cognitive impairment (OR per 1 SD higher leptin concentration, 1.33; 95 % CI 1.05, 1.69; p = 0.02; OR per 1 SD higher LAR, 1.26; 95 % CI 1.01, 1.57; p = 0.04). Sensitivity analyses determined that these findings were driven by the non-obese group (BMI < 30 kg/m2), whereas leptin and LAR were not associated with cognitive impairment in the obese group (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). Soluble leptin receptor, leptin/soluble leptin receptor ratio, total adiponectin and high-molecular weight adiponectin concentrations were each not associated with impairment. CONCLUSIONS: With leptin as a known promoter of atherosclerosis and inflammation, our findings point to a pathogenic role of leptin in age-related cognitive impairment that may be limited to non-obese individuals and warrants further investigation.