Pronounced impact of Th1/E47cs mutation compared with -491 AT mutation on neural APOE gene expression and risk of developing Alzheimer's disease

Hum Mol Genet. 1998 Sep;7(9):1511-6. doi: 10.1093/hmg/7.9.1511.


Possession of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) epsilon4 allele is the most frequently associated genetic susceptibility factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Recently, new polymorphisms in the regulatory region of the APOE gene have been described. We analysed the effects of three of these mutations (-491 AT, -427 CT and Th1/E47cs) on disease risk in a large case-control study, and tested their impacts on APOE allelic expression in brain tissues. The Th1/E47cs T allele was associated with an increased risk of occurrence of AD, while the -491 T allele was associated with a decreased risk, independently of the APOE epsilon2/epsilon3/epsilon4 polymorphism effect. However, the impact of the Th1/E47cs mutation was the strongest. The -427 CT polymorphism was not associated with the disease. In AD subjects heterozygous for the epsilon4 allele, analysis of allelic expression showed that the relative expression levels of the epsilon4 allele were higher than those of the corresponding controls. Consistent with epidemiological data, the relative level of expression of the epsilon4 allele was modified accordingly to the presence or absence of the two main promoter polymorphisms, indicating, in vivo, the deleterious effect of the Th1/E47cs T allele and the protective effect of the -491 T allele in population. These data indicate that in addition to the qualitative effect of the APOE epsilon2/epsilon3/epsilon4 polymorphisms on the AD occurrence, the quantitative variation of expression of these alleles due to functional APOE promoter mutations, is a key determinant of AD development.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alleles
  • Alzheimer Disease / etiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mutation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • RNA, Messenger