Apolipoprotein E ɛ4–related effects on cognition are limited to the Alzheimer’s disease spectrum

ADNI–Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Whether the deleterious effects of APOE4 are restricted to the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) spectrum or cause cognitive impairment irrespectively of the development of AD is still a matter of debate, and the focus of this study. Our analyses included APOE4 genotype, neuropsychological variables, amyloid-βeta (Aβ) and Tau markers, FDG-PET values, and hippocampal volumetry data derived from the healthy controls sample of the ADNI database. We formed 4 groups of equal size (n = 30) based on APOE4 carriage and amyloid-PET status. Baseline and follow-up (i.e., 48 months post-baseline) results indicated that Aβ-positivity was the most important factor to explain poorer cognitive performance, while APOE4 only exerted a significant effect in Aβ-positive subjects. Additionally, multiple regression analyses evidenced that, within the Aβ-positive sample, hippocampal volumetry explained most of the variability in cognitive performance for APOE4 carriers. These findings represent a strong support for the so-called preclinical/prodromal hypothesis, which states that the reported differences in cognitive performance between healthy carriers and non-carriers are mainly due to the APOE4’s capability to increase the risk of AD. Moreover, our results reinforce the notion that a synergistic interaction of Aβ and APOE4 elicits a neurodegenerative process in the hippocampus that might be the main cause of impaired cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeroScience
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Amyloid markers
  • ApoE4
  • Cognitive deterioration
  • Cognitive phenotype
  • Healthy aging
  • Preclinical and prodromal Alzheimer’s disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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