We measured serum neopterin concentrations in 24 patients with Alzheimer's disease (8 males, 16 females; age: 73.1 ± 6.2 years; free of any infectious process) and fourteen controls of similar age (4 males, 10 females; age: 69.7 ± 8.8 years). Compared to controls, significantly higher concentrations of neopterin (p < 0.01) were found in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Among patients, concentrations of neopterin were higher in those with lower mini-mental-state (p < 0.05), and an invers correlation existed between mini-mental-state and neopterin concentrations. No such association existed with the duration of the disease. There were also significant correlations between neopterin and serum concentrations of immune activation markers such as soluble tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor and soluble interleukin-2 receptor (all p < 0.01). Thus, increased concentrations of neopterin in serum of patients with Alzheimer's disease correlate with the severity of dementia. The data imply a chronic state of peripheral immune activation in Alzheimer's disease.
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