The relationship between memory complaints, perceived quality of life and mental health in apolipoprotein Eepsilon4 carriers and non-carriers

J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;17(1):69-79. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-1018.


Apolipoprotein E epsilon4 (APOE-epsilon4) is a major genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. In this study, we addressed the question of whether possession of the APOE-epsilon4 allele results in adverse effects on perceived health-related quality of life (HRQL) and on symptoms of depression and anxiety in people with subjective memory complaints (SMC). 138 healthy, community-dwelling elderly volunteers, aged 52 to 85, were assessed for HRQL, depression, and anxiety. The participants were classified as i) APOE-epsilon4 carriers or ii) non-carriers with a) SMC or b) without memory complaints. The possible interactions of APOE genotype, gender, and SMC on HRQL, depression, and anxiety were investigated statistically. SMC was significantly associated with poorer outcomes on measures of depression, trait anxiety, and mental health. APOE-epsilon4 carriers did not significantly differ from non-carriers on HRQL, depression, and anxiety. However, significant interaction was found between APOE-epsilon4 genotype and SMC on depression. These findings are important from a health perspective and suggest that memory complaints are associated with markers of mental health and quality of life that are independent of possession of the APOE-epsilon4 allele, despite the importance of this polymorphism in the risk of AD and other health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / complications
  • Memory Disorders / genetics*
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health*
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Perception / physiology
  • Quality of Life / psychology*


  • Apolipoprotein E4