Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Medical Sciences / Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care
Background Aß peptides are often considered as catabolic by-products of the amyloid ß protein precursor (APP), with unknown physiological functions. However, several biological properties have been tentatively attributed to these peptides, including a role in vasomotion. We assess whether plasma Aß peptide levels might be associated with systolic and diastolic blood pressure values (SBP and DBP, respectively). Methodology/Principal Findings Plasma Aß1-40 and Aß1-42 levels were measured using an xMAP-based assay in 1,972 individuals (none of whom were taking antihypertensive drugs) from 3 independent studies: the French population-based 3C and MONA-LISA (Lille) studies (n = 627 and n = 769, respectively) and the Australian, longitudinal AIBL study (n = 576). In the combined sample, the Aß1-42/ Aß1-40 ratio was significantly and inversely associated with SBP (p = 0.03) and a similar trend was observed for DBP (p = 0.06). Using the median age (69) as a cut-off, the Aß1-42/Aß1-40 ratio was strongly associated with both SBP and DBP in elderly individuals (p = 0.002 and p = 0.03, respectively). Consistently, a high Aß1-42/ Aß1-40 ratio was associated with a lower risk of hypertension in both the combined whole sample (odds ratio [OR], 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-0.90) and (to an even greater extent) in the elderly subjects (OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.37–0.75). Lastly, all these associations appeared to be primarily driven by the level of plasma Aß1-40. Conclusion The plasma Aß1-42/Aß1-40 ratio is inversely associated with SBP, DBP and the risk of hypertension in elderly subjects, suggesting that Aß peptides affect blood pressure in vivo. These results may be particularly relevant in Alzheimer's disease, in which a high Aß1-42/Aß1-40 plasma ratio is reportedly associated with a decreased risk of incident disease.