Racial differences in the effect of APOE-ε4 genotypes on trail making test B in Alzheimer's disease: A longitudinal study

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The trail making test part B (TMT-B) evaluates executive functions, memory, and sensorimotor functions. No previous study was found to examine the longitudinal effect of APOE-ε4 genotypes on the TMT-B scores in Alzheimer's disease (AD) across racial groups.


This study used the data from Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI): 382 participants with AD, 503 with cognitive normal (CN), 1293 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at baseline and follow-up of four years. The multivariable linear mixed model was used to investigate the effect of APOE-ε4 genotypes on changes in TMT-B scores.


Compared with Whites, African Americans (AA) and Hispanics had higher TMT-B scores (poor cognitive function). Furthermore, Whites subjects with 1 or 2 APOE-ε4 alleles had significantly higher TMT-B scores compared with individuals without APOE-ε4 allele at baseline and four follow-up visits; however, no differences in TMT-B were found between APOE-ε4 alleles in the Hispanic and AA groups. No APOE-ε4 by visit interactions was found for 3 racial groups. Stratified by AD diagnosis, the APOE-ε4 allele was associated with TMT-B scores only in the MCI group, while there were significant interactions for visit by education, APOE-ε4 allele, and the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) score in the MCI group. In addition, TMT-B was significantly correlated with the MMSE, AD Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale 13 (ADAS13), tTau, pTau, Aβ42, and hippocampus.


APOE-ɛ4 allele is associated with TMT-B scores in Whites subjects, but not in the Hispanic and AA groups. APOE-ε4 showed interaction with visit in the MCI group.


© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Publication Title

International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry