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Neurology. 1996 Jul;47(1):196-201.

A newly identified polymorphism in the apolipoprotein E enhancer gene region is associated with Alzheimer's disease and strongly with the epsilon 4 allele.

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  • 1Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Apolipoprotein E allele 4 (apoE epsilon 4) is a major risk factor for late-onset AD. Inheritance of this allele is associated with an earlier age of onset of dementia in individuals with AD. It is unknown whether other polymorphisms in the apoE gene may influence the effect of apoE epsilon 4 on AD. We screened portions of the promoter enhancer element and of the apoE receptor binding domain for other polymorphisms that could affect risk of AD. In particular, a C/G polymorphism at position +113 of the apoE mRNA in the apoE intron 1 enhancer element (IE1) has been recently identified. We found no other polymorphisms. We studied the relationship of the two alleles of the IE1 polymorphism with AD and found an apparent association between IE1 G and AD (n = 94; p = 0.0515). However, the IE1 G allele is also closely associated with apoE epsilon 4 (p < 0.0001). When the presence of apoE epsilon 4 is covaried, the association between the IE1 G allele and AD is no longer statistically significant (odds ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval: 0.44, 3.78). In contrast, epsilon 4 is still highly associated with AD when IE1 G is controlled for (odds ratio = 5.91, 95% confidence interval: 3.29, 10.63). Furthermore, there is no significant association between the age of onset of dementia and the inheritance of the G allele. We believe that the apparent association between IE1 G and AD is a consequence of the association between the epsilon 4 and IE1 G alleles.

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