Circulating Progenitor Cells and Cognitive Impairment in Men and Women with Coronary Artery Disease

Kasra Moazzami, Matthew T. Wittbrodt, Bruno B. Lima, Jeong Hwan Kim, Muhammad Hammadah, Yi An Ko, Malik Obideen, Naser Abdelhadi, Belal Kaseer, M. Mazen Gafeer, Jonathon A. Nye, Amit J. Shah, Laura Ward, Paolo Raggi, Edmund K. Waller, J. Douglas Bremner, Arshed A. Quyyumi, Viola Vaccarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Circulating progenitor cells (CPC) have been associated with memory function and cognitive impairment in healthy adults. However, it is unclear whether such associations also exist in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Objective: To assess the association between CPCs and memory performance among individuals with CAD. Methods: We assessed cognitive function in 509 patients with CAD using the verbal and visual Memory subtests of the Wechsler memory scale-IV and the Trail Making Test parts A and B. CPCs were enumerated with flow cytometry as CD45med/CD34+ blood mononuclear cells, those co-expressing other epitopes representing populations enriched for hematopoietic and endothelial progenitors. Results: After adjusting for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors, lower number of endothelial progenitor cell counts were independently associated with lower visual and verbal memory scores (p for all < 0.05). There was a significant interaction in the magnitude of this association with race (p < 0.01), such that the association of verbal memory scores with endothelial progenitor subsets was present in Black but not in non-Black participants. No associations were present with the hematopoietic progenitor-enriched cells or with the Trail Making Tests. Conclusion: Lower numbers of circulating endothelial progenitor cells are associated with cognitive impairment in patients with CAD, suggesting a protective effect of repair/regeneration processes in the maintenance of cognitive status. Impairment of verbal memory function was more strongly associated with lower CPC counts in Black compared to non-Black participants with CAD. Whether strategies designed to improve regenerative capacity will improve cognition needs further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-668
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Circulating progenitor cells
  • Wechsler Memory Scale
  • cognitive impairment
  • coronary artery disease
  • dementia
  • memory
  • trail making tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Neuroscience


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