Objective: To investigate the independent association of serum N-terminal fragment of the prohormone natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) with structural and functional features of abnormal brain aging in older individuals. Methods: In this cross-sectional study based on the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility (AGES)-Reykjavik Study, we included 4,029 older community-dwelling individuals (born 1907 to 1935) with a measured serum level of NT-proBNP. Outcomes included parenchymal brain volumes estimated from brain MRI, cognitive function measured by tests of memory, processing speed, and executive functioning, and presence of depressive symptoms measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale. In a substudy, cardiac output of 857 participants was assessed using cardiac MRI. Results: In multivariate analyses, adjusted for sociodemographic and cardiovascular factors, higher levels of NT-proBNP were independently associated with lower total (p < 0.001), gray matter (p < 0.001), and white matter (p 0.001) brain volumes. Likewise, in multivariate analyses, higher levels of NT-proBNP were associated with worse scores in memory (p 0.005), processing speed (p 0.001), executive functioning (p < 0.001), and more depressive symptoms (p 0.002). In the substudy, the associations of higher NT-proBNP with lower brain parenchymal volumes, impaired executive function and processing speed, and higher depressive symptoms were independent of the level of cardiac output. Conclusions: Higher serum levels of NT-proBNP, independent of cardiovascular risk factors and a measure of cardiac function, are linked with alterations in brain structure and function. Roles of natriuretic peptides in the process of brain aging need to be further elucidated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology