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Neurology. 2006 Jan 24;66(2):223-7.

Cholesterol, APOE genotype, and Alzheimer disease: an epidemiologic study of Nigerian Yoruba.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.



To examine the relationship between cholesterol and other lipids, APOE genotype, and risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) in a population-based study of elderly Yoruba living in Ibadan, Nigeria.


Blood samples and clinical data were collected from Yoruba study participants aged 70 years and older (N = 1,075) as part of the Indianapolis-Ibadan Dementia Project, a longitudinal epidemiologic study of AD. Cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglyceride levels were measured in fasting blood samples. DNA was extracted and APOE was genotyped. Diagnoses of AD were made by consensus using National Institute of Neurologic Disorders/Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association criteria.


Logistic regression models showed interaction after adjusting for age and gender between APOE-epsilon4 genotype and biomarkers in the risk of AD cholesterol*genotype (p = 0.022), LDL*genotype (p= 0.018), and triglyceride*genotype (p = 0.036). Increasing levels of cholesterol and LDL were associated with increased risk of AD in individuals without the APOE-epsilon4 allele, but not in those with APOE-epsilon4. There was no significant association between levels of triglycerides and AD risk in those without APOE-epsilon4.


There was a significant interaction between cholesterol, APOE-epsilon4, and the risk of Alzheimer disease (AD) in the Yoruba, a population that has lower cholesterol levels and lower incidence rates of AD compared to African Americans. APOE status needs to be considered when assessing the relationship between lipid levels and AD risk in population studies.

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