Baroreflex function is reduced in Alzheimer's disease: a candidate biomarker?

Aisha S. S. Meel-van den Abeelen, Joep Lagro, Erik D. Gommer, Jos P. H. Reulen, Jurgen A. H. R. Claassen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The baroreflex (BR) reflects autonomic blood pressure control. Alzheimer's disease (AD) affects the autonomic system. Detailed properties of BR in AD are unknown. We hypothesized that BR is reduced in AD, and is influenced by autonomic effects of cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEI). BR was determined in 18 AD patients, 11 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 19 healthy control subjects. In AD, BR was measured again after ChEI treatment. Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to define a BR cutoff value, which was then tested in an independent validation sample of 16 AD, 18 MCI, and 18 control subjects. BR was lower in AD compared with MCI (p <0.05) and in MCI compared with healthy control subjects (p <0.01). Receiver operating characteristic analysis between AD and healthy control subjects yielded a sensitivity of 89% and a specificity of 94%. ChEI treatment increased BR with 66% (p <0.01). BR was reduced in AD and increased after treatment with ChEI. BR might be a good biomarker to further explore the link between cardiovascular disease and AD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1176
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Baroreflex
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Diagnostics
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Causal model


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