Apolipoprotein E e4 allele affects risk of hyperhomocysteinemia in the elderly
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BACKGROUND: Apolipoprotein E (APOE) plays a central role in VLDL metabolism. Both APOE e4 allele (APOE4) and C-reactive protein (CRP) are associated with greater risk of dementia and vascular disease, but APOE4 carriers have lower blood concentrations of CRP than do noncarriers, possibly through a mechanism favoring the clearance of the CRP VLDL-bound fraction. Homocysteine, another risk factor for vascular disease and dementia, also binds to VLDL in blood. However, the association between APOE4 and hyperhomocysteinemia has never been thoroughly investigated. OBJECTIVE: We investigated in an elderly population whether 1) APOE4 is associated with hyperhomocysteinemia [plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) > 15 micromol/L], 2) hyperhomocysteinemia affects the association between APOE4 and high CRP (serum CRP > 3 mg/L), and 3) B vitamin status affects these associations. DESIGN: APOE4 genotypes were assessed and tHcy, CRP, and serum concentrations of folate and vitamin B-12 were measured in 671 cognitively healthy subjects (52% women; mean age: 73 y) from an Italian population-based prospective cohort study. RESULTS: APOE4 carriers without high CRP [multivariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR): 0.22; 95% CI: 0.08, 0.59] had a lower risk of hyperhomocysteinemia than did noncarriers. The risk of high CRP was lower in APOE4 carriers without hyperhomocysteinemia (multivariate-adjusted OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.31, 0.85) than in noncarriers. The associations were not affected by B vitamin status. CONCLUSION: Independently from B vitamin status, APOE4 carriers have a lower risk of hyperhomocysteinemia and of high CRP than do noncarriers, but the presence of one condition attenuates the association of APOE4 with the other condition.
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