Objectives: Post-stroke cognitive impairment (PSCI) is a common disease that may occur within 3 months after a stroke or even later. However, the mechanism of PSCI development is unclear. The present study investigated whether the levels of plasma amyloid beta-42 (Aβ42) and tau are associated with the onset of PSCI. Methods: Fifty-five patients admitted within 7 days of acute ischemic stroke were enrolled and followed up for 1 year. Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) was administered at 3 months and 1 year, and plasma Aβ42 and tau levels were determined using an ultrasensitive immunoassay (immunomagnetic reduction) within 7 days of the stroke event and 3 months later. Results: In this study, 13 of 55 patients developed PSCI (MoCA score <23) at 3 months. Seven patients with PSCI at 3 months recovered to a cognitively normal state at 1 year, whereas seven cognitively normal patients developed PSCI at 1 year. The patients with PSCI at 1 year had a higher incidence of cognitive function deterioration between 3 months and 1 year compared with those without PSCI at 1 year. Plasma Aβ42 and tau levels at 3 months were lower in the patients with PSCI at 1 year than in those without PSCI (Aβ42: 15.1 vs. 17.2 pg/mL, P = 0.013; tau: 16.7 vs. 19.9 pg/mL, P = 0.018). Low education levels and pre-existing white matter disease were the most significant predictors of PSCI at 3 months, and poor cognitive performance at 3 months and low plasma Aβ42 and tau levels at 3 months were the most significant predictors of PSCI at 1 year. Conclusion: The pathogenesis of PSCI is complex and changes with time. Ischemia-induced Aβ42/tau pathology might be involved in PSCI development.
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