Background: The APOE*E4 allele of the gene for apolipoprotein E (APOE) has been reported as a risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD) to varying degrees in different ethnic groups.
Objective: To compare APOE*E4-AD epidemiological associations in India and the United States in a cross-national epidemiological study.
Design: Case-control design within 2 cohort studies, using standardized cognitive screening and clinical evaluation to identify AD and other dementias and polymerase chain reaction to identify APOE genotyping.
Participants: Rural community samples, aged 55 years or older (n=4450) in Ballabgarh, India, and 70 years or older (n=886) in the Monongahela Valley region of southwestern Pennsylvania.
Main outcome measures: Criteria of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association for probable and possible AD and Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale for dementia staging.
Results: Frequency of APOE*E4 was significantly lower (P<.001) in Ballabgarh vs the Monongahela Valley (0.07 vs 0.11). Frequency of probable or possible AD, with CDR of at least 1.0, in the Indian vs US samples, was as follows: aged 55 to 69 years, 0.1% (Indian sample only); aged 70 to 79 years, 0.7% vs 3.1%; aged 80 years or older, 4.0% vs 15.7%. Among those aged 70 years or older, adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) for AD among carriers of APOE*E4 vs noncarriers were 3.4 (1.2-9.3) and 2.3 (1.3-4.0) in the Indian and US samples, respectively, and not significantly different between cohorts (P=. 20).
Conclusion: This first report of APOE*E4 and AD from the Indian subcontinent shows very low prevalence of AD in Ballabgarh, India, but association of APOE*E4 with AD at similar strength in Indian and US samples. Arch Neurol. 2000.