Assessment of APOE in atypical parkinsonism syndromes

Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Jul:127:142-146. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.02.016. Epub 2019 Feb 21.


Atypical parkinsonism syndromes are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders that include corticobasal degeneration (CBD), Lewy body dementia (LBD), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). The APOE ε4 allele is a well-established risk factor for Alzheimer's disease; however, the role of APOE in atypical parkinsonism syndromes remains controversial. To examine the associations of APOE ε4 and ε2 alleles with risk of developing these syndromes, a total of 991 pathologically-confirmed atypical parkinsonism cases were genotyped using the Illumina NeuroChip array. We also performed genotyping and logistic regression analyses to examine APOE frequency and associated risk in patients with Alzheimer's disease (n = 571) and Parkinson's disease (n = 348). APOE genotypes were compared to those from neurologically healthy controls (n = 591). We demonstrate that APOE ε4 and ε2 carriers have a significantly increased and decreased risk, respectively, of developing Alzheimer's disease (ε4: OR: 4.13, 95% CI: 3.23-5.26, p = 3.67 × 10-30; ε2: OR: 0.21, 95% CI: 0.13-0.34; p = 5.39 × 10-10) and LBD (ε4: OR: 2.94, 95% CI: 2.34-3.71, p = 6.60 × 10-20; ε2: OR = OR: 0.39, 95% CI: 0.26-0.59; p = 6.88 × 10-6). No significant associations with risk for CBD, MSA, or PSP were observed. We also show that APOE ε4 decreases survival in a dose-dependent manner in Alzheimer's disease and LBD. Taken together, this study does not provide evidence to implicate a role of APOE in the neuropathogenesis of CBD, MSA, or PSP. However, we confirm association of the APOE ε4 allele with increased risk for LBD, and importantly demonstrate that APOE ε2 reduces risk of this disease.

Keywords: APOE; Atypical parkinsonism; Lewy body dementia; Multiple system atrophy; Progressive supranuclear palsy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Dementia / genetics*
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lewy Body Disease / genetics*
  • Lewy Body Disease / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple System Atrophy / genetics*
  • Multiple System Atrophy / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / genetics*
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / pathology


  • Apolipoproteins E