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JAMA. 1995 Mar 22-29;273(12):942-7.

Apolipoprotein E type 4 allele and cerebral glucose metabolism in relatives at risk for familial Alzheimer disease.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.



Cerebral parietal hypometabolism and left-right asymmetry occur early in the course of Alzheimer disease (AD), and the apolipoprotein E type 4 allele (APOE epsilon 4) is a risk factor for familial AD. To determine if APOE epsilon 4 is associated with lowered brain function in nondemented relatives at risk for familial AD, we studied 12 relatives with APOE epsilon 4 and 19 relatives without APOE epsilon 4. We also compared them with seven patients with probable AD.


After grouping subjects according to diagnosis and genotype, brain function measures were compared among groups.


University medical center.


At risk subjects had mild memory complaints, normal cognitive performance, and at least two relatives with AD. Subjects with APOE epsilon 4 did not differ from those without APOE epsilon 4 in mean age at examination (56.4 vs 55.5 years) or in neuropsychological performance (mean Mini-Mental State Examination score, 28.8 vs 29.3).


Cerebral glucose metabolism was measured using positron emission tomography and fludeoxyglucose F 18.


Parietal metabolism was significantly lower and left-right parietal asymmetry was significantly higher in at-risk subjects with APOE epsilon 4 compared with those without APOE epsilon 4. Patients with dementia had significantly lower parietal metabolism than did at-risk subjects with APOE epsilon 4.


These results suggest that the inheritance of APOE epsilon 4 is associated with reduced cerebral parietal metabolism and increased asymmetry in non-demented relatives at risk for probable AD. Longitudinal study will determine if glucose metabolic measures provide a means to monitor experimental treatment responses during the early phases of the disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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