Apolipoprotein E genotypes and cognitive functions in healthy elderly persons

Stähelin, Hannes B.; Perrig-Chiello, P.; Mitrache, C.; Perrig, Walter J. (1999). Apolipoprotein E genotypes and cognitive functions in healthy elderly persons. Acta neurologica Scandinavica, 100(1), pp. 53-60. Blackwell Munksgaard 10.1111/j.1600-0404.1999.tb00723.x

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Objectives- We investigated whether apoE genotypes correlate with cognitive functions in clinically healthy persons. Methods - In 1993 and 1995, we measured information processing speed, delayed free recall and semantic aspects of long-term memory in 227 men and 105 women aged 65 and over, a randomly selected subsample of the prospective Basel Study. Cardiovascular risk factors and education were assessed. Results -E2 were more prevalent in old-old (>75 years, 23.5% vs 15%) compared to E4 than in young-old (<75 years, 19.3% vs 23.5%). Taking into account age and education, subjects with ɛ3/ɛ4 or ɛ4/ɛ4 alleles (E4) performed lowest in all 3 tests compared to those homozygous for ɛ3 (E3) or carriers of one or two ɛ2 alleles (E2) (reaction time P=0.009, free recall P=0.05, WAIS-R vocabulary P<0.05). In old-old there was a significant difference between E2 and E4 for reaction time (P=0.02) and free recall (P<0.02) but not for vocabulary (P=0.086). In all 3 groups there were no significant changes after 2 years. The subgroup with the genotype ɛ2/ɛ4 performed consistently best in the cognitive tests. Cholesterol was significantly increased in the E4 and E3 group compared to the E2 group. Conclusion - ApoE genotype correlates with cognitive performance. The increased prevalence of E2 in the old-old and the significantly lower plasma cholesterol levels suggest differential morbidity and mortality as important factors influencing the prevalence of cognitive disorders in late life.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Other Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Human Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Perrig-Chiello, Pasqualina, Perrig, Walter


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Blackwell Munksgaard




Anna Maria Ruprecht Künzli

Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2014 17:13

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34

Publisher DOI:




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