BACKGROUND: ALS patients have changed peripheral immunity . It is unknown whether peripheral immunity is related to cognitive dysfunction in ALS patients .
OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between the peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets and the cognitive status in ALS patients .
METHODS: Among 81 ALS patients, we compared the demographic, clinical, and peripheral levels of total T lymphocyte, CD4+ T lymphocyte, CD8+ T lymphocyte, B lymphocyte, and NK cell between those with cognitive impairment (ALS-ci) and those without (ALS-nci). The cognitive status was evaluated via the Chinese version of the Edinburgh cognitive and behavioral screen (ECAS). Significant predictors of cognitive impairment in univariate logistic regression analysis were further examined using multivariate logistic regression analysis .
RESULTS : 39.5% of all ALS patients had cognitive impairment . The ALS-ci group had shorter education time, older age at both symptom onset and testing, longer disease duration, and lower levels of peripheral total, CD4+, and CD8+ T lymphocyte and B lymphocyte than the ALS-nci group . Frequency of behavioral impairment did not differ between the two groups . While parameters with significant differences identified by group comparison were also significant predictors of cognitive impairment in univariate logistic regression analysis except the level of B lymphocyte, only older age at testing, education time less than 9 years, and lower level of CD4+ T lymphocyte remained significant in multivariate logistic regression analysis . The predictive model combining these three parameters had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve value of 0.842 with a sensitivity of 90.6% and a specificity of 67.3% .
CONCLUSION: In Chinese ALS patients, blood CD4+ T lymphocyte might help evaluate cognitive impairment along with age and education level.