Objective: Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) deficiency may be involved in cognitive deficits seen with aging and in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study was aimed at investigating whether non-responder to donepezil could be predicted using decreased serum levels of IGF-I in AD patients. Design: This study involved 106 elderly subjects: 50 patients with AD and 56 age-matched controls without dementia. In patients with AD, donepezil was given orally 3 mg/day for 4 weeks and 5 mg/day for another 12 weeks. AD patients were divided into responders and non-responders based on the changes in mini-mental state examination (MMSE) scores before and 16 weeks after treatment with donepezil. Serum levels of IGF-I and atherogenic biomarkers were determined. Results: Before treatment with donepezil, there was a significant positive correlation between serum IGF-I levels and the MMSE scores in all subjects. Serum IGF-I levels and the MMSE scores were significantly lower in AD patients than in non-demented controls and were the lowest in non-responders to donepezil. Atherogenic biomarkers (LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoprotein(a), lipid peroxide, apolipoprotein E, and glucose levels) did not differ significantly among these groups. On multiple logistic regression, non-responders to donepezil showed decreased serum IGF-I levels <110 ng/ml and MMSE scores <15 points before treatment. Conclusions: These findings suggest that decreased levels of serum IGF-I combined with MMSE scores before treatment could predict non-responders to donepezil among AD patients, which may be a simple and practical method for selecting patients expected to show a response to treatment.
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