Several studies have reported an association of the apolipoprotein E allele epsilon 4 (APOE*4) to familial and sporadic late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). Here we report on the relationship between APOE*4 and early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) in a Dutch population-based study. The frequency of the APOE*4 allele was 2.3 times higher among EOAD cases compared to controls. Among patients, the allele frequency was 1.6 times higher in those with a positive family history than in those without. A significant increase in risk of EOAD was found for subjects homozygous for APOE*4 regardless of family history of dementia, but an increase in EOAD risk for APOE*4 heterozygotes could only be shown in subjects with a positive family history. Our study demonstrates a significant association between APOE*4 and EOAD which is modified by family history of dementia.

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Nature Genetics
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Duijn, C., de Knijff, P., Cruts, M., Wehnert, A., Havekes, L. M., van Broeckhoven, C., & Hofman, A. (1994). Apolipoprotein E4 allele in a population-based study of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Nature Genetics, 7, 74–78. Retrieved from