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Circulation. 1995 Jan 15;91(2):265-9.

Apolipoprotein E polymorphism predicts death from coronary heart disease in a longitudinal study of elderly Finnish men.

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National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.



There is ample evidence from cross-sectional studies of an association between allelic variation of the gene coding for apolipoprotein E (apoE) and interindividual variation in plasma lipids, and the presence of coronary heart disease (CHD). There have been no prospective studies, however, to evaluate the usefulness of allelic variation of the apoE gene for predicting CHD.


Two samples of elderly Finnish men were followed for 5 years, one in the east (n = 297) and the other in the southwest of Finland (n = 369). At baseline, when the apoE genotypes were assessed, the men were 65 to 84 years old. At the end of the follow-up, the vital status of each man was determined, and cause of death was coded. At baseline, relative frequencies of the three alleles-epsilon 2, epsilon 3, and epsilon 4--were 0.037, 0.827, and 0.136 in the eastern and 0.062, 0.763, and 0.175 in the southwestern samples, respectively (chi 2 = 8.89, df = 2, P < .012 for difference between the samples). During the 5-year follow-up, a total of 28 deaths from CHD were recorded in the eastern and 42 in the southwestern sample. Relative CHD mortality was not heterogeneous between the samples. Among those who died from CHD, there was a doubling of the relative epsilon 4 allele frequency in both samples (chi 2 = 4.70, df = 1, P < .03 for the eastern sample; chi 2 = 7.11, df = 1, P < .01 for the southwestern sample).


Allelic variation in the apoE gene is a statistically significant predictor of CHD death in these samples of elderly Finnish men.

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