Lower Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction Relates to Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker Evidence of Neurodegeneration in Older Adults

Hailey A. Kresge, Dandan Liu, Deepak K. Gupta, Elizabeth E. Moore, Katie E. Osborn, Lealani Mae Y. Acosta, Susan P. Bell, Kimberly R. Pechman, Katherine A. Gifford, Lisa A. Mendes, Thomas J. Wang, Kaj Blennow, Henrik Zetterberg, Timothy J. Hohman, Angela L. Jefferson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Subclinical cardiac dysfunction is associated with decreased cerebral blood flow, placing the aging brain at risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology and neurodegeneration. Objective: This study investigates the association between subclinical cardiac dysfunction, measured by left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers of AD and neurodegeneration. Methods: Vanderbilt Memory Aging Project participants free of dementia, stroke, and heart failure (n = 152, 72±6 years, 68% male) underwent echocardiogram to quantify LVEF and lumbar puncture to measure CSF levels of amyloid-β42 (Aβ42), phosphorylated tau (p-tau), and total tau (t-tau). Linear regressions related LVEF to CSF biomarkers, adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, cognitive diagnosis, and apolipoprotein E ϵ4 status. Secondary models tested an LVEF x cognitive diagnosis interaction and then stratified by diagnosis (normal cognition (NC), mild cognitive impairment (MCI)). Results: Higher LVEF related to decreased CSF Aβ42 levels (β=-6.50, p = 0.04) reflecting greater cerebral amyloid accumulation, but this counterintuitive result was attenuated after excluding participants with cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation (p = 0.07). We observed an interaction between LVEF and cognitive diagnosis on CSF t-tau (p = 0.004) and p-tau levels (p = 0.002), whereas lower LVEF was associated with increased CSF t-tau (β=-9.74, p = 0.01) and p-tau in the NC (β=-1.41, p = 0.003) but not MCI participants (p-values>0.13). Conclusions: Among cognitively normal older adults, subclinically lower LVEF relates to greater molecular evidence of tau phosphorylation and neurodegeneration. Modest age-related changes in cardiovascular function may have implications for pathophysiological changes in the brain later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-974
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • atrophy
  • cerebrospinal fluid proteins
  • echocardiography
  • tau proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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