The apolipoprotein E gene (Apo E) type 4 allele is a genetic risk factor influencing the development and age of onset of Alzheimer's disease. Because Parkinson's disease shares many characteristics of Alzheimer's disease, we studied the frequencies of Apo E genotypes in a cohort of 52 Parkinson's disease patients with dementia and 61 patients without dementia. Dementia was determined per National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke criteria and Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (DRS) < 126. Normal cognition was defined as DRS > 132. Apo E genotype and allele frequencies did not differ between demented and nondemented parkinsonian patients. Neither group's genotype and allele frequencies differed from that of a nondemented population of 78 controls. We conclude that the Apo E epsilon 4 allele influences neither the development of Parkinson's disease nor the dementia associated with Parkinson's disease.