Apolipoprotein E4 as a predictor of outcomes in pediatric mild traumatic brain injury

J Neurotrauma. 2009 Sep;26(9):1489-95. doi: 10.1089/neu.2008.0767.


The epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene has been linked to negative outcomes among adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) across the spectrum of severity, with preliminary evidence suggesting a similar pattern among children. This study investigated the relationship of the APOE epsilon4 allele to outcomes in children with mild TBI. Participants in this prospective, longitudinal study included 99 children with mild TBI between the ages of 8 and 15 recruited from consecutive admissions to Emergency Departments at two large children's hospitals. Outcomes were assessed acutely in the Emergency Department and at follow-ups at 2 weeks, 3 months, and 12 months post-injury. Among the 99 participants, 28 had at least one epsilon4 allele. Children with and without an epsilon4 allele did not differ demographically. Children with an epsilon4 allele were significantly more likely than those without an epsilon4 allele to have a Glasgow Coma Scale score of less than 15, but the groups did not differ on any other measures of injury severity. Those with an epsilon4 allele exhibited better performance than children without an epsilon4 allele on a test of constructional skill, but the groups did not differ on any other neuropsychological tests. Children with and without an epsilon4 allele also did not differ on measures of post-concussive symptoms. Overall, the findings suggest that the APOE epsilon4 allele is not consistently related to the outcomes of mild TBI in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / genetics*
  • Brain Concussion / genetics
  • Brain Concussion / psychology
  • Brain Injuries / genetics*
  • Brain Injuries / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Child
  • DNA / genetics
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Unconsciousness / genetics
  • Unconsciousness / psychology
  • Young Adult


  • Apolipoprotein E4
  • DNA