The apolipoprotein E epsilon4 allele is unlikely to be a major risk factor of age-related macular degeneration in Chinese

Ophthalmologica. 2000;214(4):289-91. doi: 10.1159/000027506.


Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is a major transporter of lipids and cholesterol in the nervous system. Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), characterized by drusen containing lipids, was reported to show a lower frequency of the ApoE epsilon4 allele than control subjects. We sought to examine the association of this polymorphism with ARMD in Hong Kong Chinese. Among 98 ARMD subjects, the frequency of epsilon4 carriers showed a trend toward a decrease compared to controls, but it was not significant (11.2 vs. 15.0%, p < 0.52). The association of epsilon4 with an apparent reduced risk of ARMD was reported previously in the exudative form of the disease, however among 39 exudative ARMD patients there was also no significant difference in epsilon4 frequency (12.8%, p < 0.93). The lack of a statistically significant effect of epsilon4 may be due to the lower frequency of epsilon4 in Chinese than Europeans. Thus we cannot exclude a possible effect of this allele on ARMD risk, but we can conclude that this allele is likely not a major factor influencing ARMD risk in the Chinese.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles*
  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E / blood
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Asian People / genetics*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • DNA / analysis*
  • Genotype
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Macular Degeneration / blood
  • Macular Degeneration / ethnology
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • DNA