High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) has been suggested to be involved in the process of cognitive decline. However, the results from previous studies exploring the relationship between hs-CRP concentration and cognitive decline are inconsistent.
A total of 5257 participants (54.9% women, mean age 65.4 ± 9.4 years) with baseline hs-CRP levels ranged from 0.2 to 210.0 mg/L (median: 2.0 mg/L, interquartile range: 0.9–4.1 mg/L) were studied. The mean follow-up duration was 8.1 ± 2.8 years, and the mean number of cognitive assessment was 4.9 ± 1.5. Linear mixed models show that a one-unit increment in natural log-transformed hs-CRP was associated with faster declines in global cognitive scores [−0.048 points/year, 95% confidence interval (CI) −0.072 to −0.023], memory scores (−0.022 points/year, 95% CI −0.031 to −0.013), and executive function scores (−0.025 points/year, 95% CI −0.043 to −0.006), after multivariable adjustment. Compared with the lowest quartile of hs-CRP, the multivariable-adjusted rate of global cognitive decline associated with the second, third, and highest quartile was faster by −0.043 points/year (95% CI −0.116 to 0.029), −0.090 points/year (95% CI −0.166 to −0.015), −0.145 (95% CI −0.221 to −0.069), respectively (p for trend <0.001). Similarly, memory and executive function also declined faster with increasing quartiles of hs-CRP.