Winfree RL, Dumitrescu L, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Gifford KA, Pechman KR, Jefferson AL, Hohman TJ. Biological correlates of elevated soluble TREM2 in cerebrospinal fluid. Neurobiology of aging. 2022 Oct;118(118). 88-98. PMID: 35908327 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC9707345 NIHMSID: NIHMS1848758.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-2 (sTREM2) is an emerging biomarker of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Yet, sTREM2 expression has not been systematically evaluated in relation to concomitant drivers of neuroinflammation. While associations between sTREM2 and tau in CSF are established, we sought to determine additional biological correlates of CSF sTREM2 during the prodromal stages of AD by evaluating CSF Aβ species (Aβ), a fluid biomarker of blood-brain barrier integrity (CSF/plasma albumin ratio), and CSF biomarkers of neurodegeneration measured in 155 participants from the Vanderbilt Memory and Aging Project. A novel association between high CSF levels of both sTREM2 and Aβ was observed and replicated in an independent dataset. Aβ levels, as well as the CSF/plasma albumin ratio, explained additional and unique variance in sTREM2 levels above and beyond that of CSF biomarkers of neurodegeneration. The component of sTREM2 levels correlated with Aβ levels best predicted future cognitive performance. We highlight potential contributions of Aβ homeostasis and blood-brain barrier integrity to elevated CSF sTREM2, underscoring novel biomarker associations relevant to disease progression and clinical outcome measures.