Apolipoprotein E ε4 affects new learning in cognitively normal individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease

Leslie C. Baxter, Richard J. Caselli, Sterling C. Johnson, Eric Reiman, David Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is an important risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Given the interest in early identification of at-risk individuals, we examined memory decline as a function of APOE status and age in cognitively intact participants aged 48-77 years old (yo). Participants were grouped by age (<60 versus ≥60) and APOE (ε4+/-). Longitudinal analysis of several components of memory over a 2-year interval showed a significant Age-by-APOE interaction reflecting a decline in new learning for the ≥60 ε4+ group only. Among ε4+, 76% of the ≥60 participants showed a decline versus 32% of the <60, but the amount of decline in new learning over the 2-year interval within the ≥60 group was not further influenced by age. That is, the size of the 2-year change was the same for 60 and 70yo participants. This suggests that longitudinal study of new learning is a sensitive measure for detecting early cognitive changes in at-risk individuals that precede the symptomatic onset of mild cognitive impairment and AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)947-952
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2003


  • Aging
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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