The Role of Vascular Risk Factors in Biomarker-Based AT(N) Groups: A German-Dutch Memory Clinic Study

Domantė Kučikienė, Ana Sofia Costa, Leonie C P Banning, Veerle van Gils, Jörg B Schulz, Inez H G B Ramakers, Frans R J Verhey, Stephanie J B Vos, Kathrin Reetz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The relation between vascular risk factors (VRFs) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) is important due to possible pathophysiological association.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of VRFs in biomarker-based AT(N) groups and the associations between VRFs, AD cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and cognition in clinical context.

METHODS: We included patients from two memory clinics in University Hospital Aachen (Germany) and Maastricht University Medical Centre (The Netherlands). Subjects were older than 45 years and had available data on demographics, VRFs, CSF AD biomarkers, and MRI. We categorized individuals in normal AD biomarkers, non-AD change, and AD-continuum groups based on amyloid (A), tau (T), and neurodegeneration (N) status in CSF and MRI. Regression models were corrected for age, sex, and site.

RESULTS: We included 838 participants (mean age 68.7, 53.2% male, mean MMSE 24.9). The most common VRFs were smoking (60.9%), hypertension (54.6%), and dyslipidemia (37.8%). Alcohol abuse and smoking were most frequent in the non-AD-change group, and coronary heart disease and carotid artery stenosis in the AD continuum group. Higher rates of depression were found in the normal AD biomarkers group. Parietal atrophy and cortical microbleeds were specific for the AD continuum group. Carotid artery stenosis was associated with pathological Aβ 42 and T-tau values, and diabetes and alcohol abuse were associated with worse medial temporal atrophy and atrial fibrillation, with worse cognition.

CONCLUSION: VRFs are common in memory clinic patients, showing differences across the AT(N) biomarker groups. This is important for prevention and individualized treatment of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • BETA
  • MRI
  • ambulatory care facilities
  • biomarkers
  • classification
  • risk factors
  • vascular diseases

Cite this