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J Neurol. 2006 Feb;253(2):181-5. Epub 2005 Aug 17.

Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) polymorphism modifies the Alzheimer's disease risk associated with APOE epsilon4 allele.

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Neurology Service, University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain.


Cholesterol regulates the production of amyloid beta (Abeta), which is central to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), with high cellular cholesterol promoting and low cellular cholesterol reducing Abeta in vitro and in vivo. High density lipoprotein (HDL) plays a central role in the removal of excess cholesterol from cells, and cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) is a crucial protein involved in the regulation of HDL levels. Two common polymorphisms in the promoter region (C-629A) and exon 14 I405V of the CETP gene are associated with CETP activity and HDL levels. To investigate if these sequence variants in CETP might be of importance in mediating susceptibility to AD, independently or in concert with apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon4 allele, we studied a sample of 286 Spanish AD patients and 315 healthy controls. In APOE epsilon4 carriers, homozygous for the CETP (-629) A allele had approximately a three times lower risk of developing AD (odds ratio 2.33, 95% CI 1.01-5.37), than homozygous and heterozygous carriers of the CETP (-629) C allele (odds ratio 7.12, 95% CI 4.51-11.24, P for APOE epsilon4/CETP (-629) AA genotype interaction < 0.001). Our data suggest that CETP behaves as a modifier gene of the AD risk associated with the APOE epsilon4 allele, possibly through modulation of brain cholesterol metabolism.

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