Association of APOE gene with longitudinal changes of CSF amyloid beta and tau levels in Alzheimer’s disease: racial differences

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The Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is a risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, no investigation has focused on racial differences in the longitudinal effect of APOE genotypes on CSF amyloid beta (Aβ42) and tau levels in AD.


This study used data from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI): 222 participants with AD, 264 with cognitive normal (CN), and 692 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at baseline and two years follow-up. We used a linear mixed model to investigate the effect of APOE-ε4-genotypes on longitudinal changes in the amyloid beta and tau levels.


Individuals with 1 or 2 APOE ε4 alleles revealed significantly higher t-Tau and p-Tau, but lower amyloid beta Aβ42 compared with individuals without APOE ε4 alleles. Significantly higher levels of log-t-Tau, log-p-Tau, and low levels of log-Aβ42 were observed in the subjects with older age, being female, and the two diagnostic groups (AD and MCI). The higher p-Tau and Aβ42 values are associated with poor Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) performance. Non-Hispanic Africa American (AA) and Hispanic participants were associated with decreased log-t-Tau levels (β =  − 0.154, p = 0.0112; β =  − 0.207, and p = 0.0016, respectively) as compared to those observed in Whites. Furthermore, Hispanic participants were associated with a decreased log-p-Tau level (β =  − 0.224, p = 0.0023) compared to those observed in Whites. There were no differences in Aβ42 level for non-Hispanic AA and Hispanic participants compared with White participants.


Our study, for the first time, showed that the APOE ε4 allele was associated with these biomarkers, however with differing degrees among racial groups.


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Neurol Sci