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Persons with Down syndrome show an altered immune response and an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease. In a prospective study, we examined whether the plasma neopterin level, a marker for cell-mediated immune activation and inflammation, is associated with an increased risk of dementia in persons with Down syndrome. Plasma concentrations of neopterin were determined in a population-based study of 394 persons with Down syndrome, who were screened annually for dementia. We used Cox proportional hazards model to determine risk of dementia. Demented persons with Down syndrome have a significantly (p=0.05) higher plasma neopterin concentration than the non-demented. In the non-demented without autoimmune disorders, in those with a plasma level of neopterin above median, the risk to develop dementia increased to 1.83 (95% confidence interval: 1.04-3.20). High plasma neopterin level is an independent determinant of the risk of dementia in persons with Down syndrome.

Original publication




Journal article


Neuroscience letters

Publication Date





60 - 64


Dichterbij, Centre for the Intellectually Disabled, Gennep, The Netherlands.


Humans, Dementia, Down Syndrome, Neopterin, Proportional Hazards Models, Risk Factors, Statistics, Nonparametric, Survival Analysis, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Community Health Planning, Female, Male