Age-dependent effect of APOE and polygenic component on Alzheimer's disease

Neurobiol Aging. 2020 Sep;93:69-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2020.04.024. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative condition with significant genetic heritability. Several genes have been implicated in the onset of AD with the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene being the strongest single genetic risk loci. Evidence suggests that the effect of APOE alters with age during disease progression. Here, we aim to investigate the impact of APOE and other variants outside the APOE region on AD risk in younger and older participants. Using data from both the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and the UK Biobank, we computed the polygenic risk score of each individual informed by the latest genetic study from the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project. Our analysis showed that the effect of APOE on the disease risk is greater in younger participants and reduces as participants' age increases. Our findings indicate the increased impact of polygenic risk score as participants' age increases. Therefore, AD in older individuals can potentially be triggered by the cumulative effect of genes which are outside the APOE region.

Keywords: ADNI; Age-depending effects; Alzheimer's disease; Polygenic risk scores; UK Biobank.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Genetic Loci / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multifactorial Inheritance / genetics*
  • Risk


  • Apolipoproteins E