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PLoS One. 2015 Aug 19;10(8):e0135894. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135894. eCollection 2015.

Possible Association of APOE Genotype with Working Memory in Young Adults.

Author information

1
School of Social & Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
2
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU) at the University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom; UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
3
Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Possession of the ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Early adult life effects of ε4 are less well understood. Working memory has been relatively little studied (compared to episodic memory) in relation to APOE genotype despite its importance in cognitive functioning. Our hypothesis was that ε4 would lead to an impairment in working memory in young adults.

METHODS:

We studied working memory using a computerised n-back task in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) at age 18. Data was available for 1049-1927 participants and for the 2- and 3-back versions of the task. Using multiple and multi-level regression controlling for important confounders we examined the association between APOE genotype on accuracy and reaction times.

RESULTS:

There was no evidence of a genotype effect on accuracy when the two difficulty levels were examined separately. There was some evidence to support a deleterious effect of the ε4 allele on n-back accuracy in the multi-level regression. There was weak evidence that the ε22 group were less accurate but the numbers were very low in this group. The ε34 group had faster reaction times than the reference ε33 group in all adjusted analyses but the ε44 group were only faster in the 3-back condition in multi-level analyses.

CONCLUSIONS:

There was no evidence of benefit in ε4 carriers, but there was some evidence of a detrimental effect on working memory in this large study.

PMID:
26287823
PMCID:
PMC4545585
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0135894
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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