Cerebrospinal fluid quinolinic acid is strongly associated with delirium and mortality in hip fracture patients - Nasjonalt senter for aldring og helse

The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2022

Cerebrospinal fluid quinolinic acid is strongly associated with delirium and mortality in hip fracture patients

Background: The kynurenine pathway (KP) has been identified as a potential mediator linking acute illness to cognitive dysfunction by generating neuroactive metabolites in response to inflammation. Delirium (acute confusion) is a common complication of acute illness and is associated with increased risk of dementia and mortality. However, the molecular mechanism underlying delirium, particularly in relation to the KP, remain elusive.

Methods: We undertook a multi-center observational study with 586 hospitalized patients (248 with delirium) and investigated associations between delirium and KP metabolites measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum by targeted metabolomics. We also explored associations between KP metabolites and markers of neuronal damage and one-year mortality.

Results: In delirium, we found concentrations of the neurotoxic metabolite quinolinic acid in CSF (CSF-QA, OR 2.26 [1.78, 2.87], p<0.001) to be increased, as well as increases in several other KP metabolites in serum and CSF. In addition, CSF-QA was associated with the neuronal damage marker neurofilament light chain (NfL, β 0.43, p<0.001) and was a strong predictor of one-year mortality (HR 4.35 [2.93, 6.45] for CSF-QA ≥ 100 nmol/L, p<0.001). The associations between CSF-QA and delirium, neuronal damage, and mortality remained highly significant following adjustment for confounders and multiple comparisons.

Conclusion: Our data identified how systemic inflammation, neurotoxicity, and delirium are strongly linked via the KP, and should inform future delirium prevention and treatment clinical trials that target enzymes of the KP.


Leiv Otto Watne, Christian Thomas Pollmann, Bjorn Erik Neerland, Else Quist-Paulsen, Nathalie Bodd Halaas, Ane-Victoria Idland, Bjørnar Hassel, Kristi Henjum, Anne-Brita Knapskog, Frede Frihagen, Johan Raeder, Aasmund Godø, Per Magne Ueland, Adrian McCann, Wender Figved, Geir Selbæk, Henrik Zetterberg, Evandro Fei Fang, Marius Myrstad, Lasse M Giil

Tilgang til artikkelen