Skin autofluorescence, reflecting accumulation of advanced glycation end products, and the risk of dementia in a population-based cohort

Sanne S. Mooldijk, Tianqi Lu, Komal Waqas, Jinluan Chen, Meike W. Vernooij, M. Kamran Ikram, M. Carola Zillikens, M. Arfan Ikram*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Conditions such as hyperglycemia and oxidative stress lead to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are harmful compounds that have been implicated in dementia. Within the Rotterdam Study, we measured skin AGEs as skin autofluorescence, reflecting long-term accumulation of AGEs, and determined their association with the risk of dementia and with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) measures. Skin autofluorescence was measured between 2013 and 2016 in 2922 participants without dementia. Of these, 1504 also underwent brain MRI, on which measures of brain atrophy and cerebral small vessel disease were assessed. All participants were followed for the incidence of dementia until 2020. Of 2922 participants (mean age 72.6 years, 57% women), 123 developed dementia. Higher skin autofluorescence (per standard deviation) was associated with an increased risk of dementia (hazard ratio 1.21 [95% confidence interval 1.01–1.46]) and Alzheimer’s disease (1.19 [0.97–1.47]), independently of age and other studied potential confounders. Stronger effects were seen in apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 carriers (1.34 [0.98–1.82]) and in participants with diabetes (1.35 [0.94–1.94]). Participants with higher skin autofluorescence levels also had smaller total brain volumes and smaller hippocampus volumes on MRI, and they had more often lacunes. These results suggest that AGEs may be involved in dementia pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1256
JournalScientific Reports
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2024

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Publisher Copyright: © 2024, The Author(s).

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