Cerebrospinal fluid proteome changes in older non-cardiac surgical patients with postoperative cognitive dysfunction

MADCO-PC Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), a syndrome of cognitive deficits occurring 1-12 months after surgery primarily in older patients, is associated with poor postoperative outcomes. POCD is hypothesized to result from neuroinflammation; however, the pathways involved remain unclear. Unbiased proteomic analyses have been used to identify neuroinflammatory pathways in multiple neurologic diseases and syndromes but have not yet been applied to POCD. Objective: To utilize unbiased mass spectrometry-based proteomics to identify potential neuroinflammatory pathways underlying POCD. Methods: Unbiased LC-MS/MS proteomics was performed on immunodepleted cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples obtained before, 24 hours after, and 6 weeks after major non-cardiac surgery in older adults who did (n = 8) or did not develop POCD (n = 6). Linear mixed models were used to select peptides and proteins with intensity differences for pathway analysis. Results: Mass spectrometry quantified 8,258 peptides from 1,222 proteins in > 50%of patient samples at all three time points. Twelve peptides from 11 proteins showed differences in expression over time between patients with versus without POCD (q < 0.05), including proteins previously implicated in neurodegenerative disease pathophysiology. Additionally, 283 peptides from 182 proteins were identified with trend-level differences (q < 0.25) in expression over time between these groups. Among these, pathway analysis revealed that 50 were from 17 proteins mapping to complement and coagulation pathways (q = 2.44∗10-13). Conclusion: These data demonstrate the feasibility of performing unbiased mass spectrometry on perioperative CSF samples to identify pathways associated with POCD. Additionally, they provide hypothesis-generating evidence for CSF complement and coagulation pathway changes in patients with POCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1297
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Inflammation
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Postoperative cognitive dysfunction
  • Proteomics


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