Recent data have found that aging-related hearing loss (ARHL) is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). However, the nature of the relationship between these two disorders is not clear. There are multiple potential factors that link ARHL and AD, and previous investigators have speculated that shared metabolic dysregulation may underlie the propensity to develop both disorders. Here, we investigate the distribution of serum lipidomic biomarkers in AD subjects with or without hearing loss in a publicly available dataset. Serum levels of 349 known lipids from 16 lipid classes were measured in 185 AD patients. Using previously defined co-regulated sets of lipids, both age- and sex-adjusted, we found that lipid sets enriched in phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine showed a strong inverse association with hearing loss. Examination of biochemical classes confirmed these relationships and revealed that serum phosphatidylcholine levels were significantly lower in AD subjects with hearing loss. A similar relationship was not found in normal subjects. These data suggest that a synergistic relationship may exist between AD, hearing loss and metabolic biomarkers, such that in the context of a pathological state such as AD, alterations in serum metabolic profiles are associated with hearing loss. These data also point to a potential role for phosphatidylcholine, a molecule with antioxidant properties, in the underlying pathophysiology of ARHL in the context of AD, which has implications for our understanding and potential treatment of both disorders.
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