Background: Apolipoprotein-E (apoE) ε4 allele is a known risk factor for Alzheimers disease (AD). Polymorphism of apoE is also one of the most important genetic markers for coronary artery disease (CAD). The allelic variation in the apoE gene has a significant effect on inter-individual variation of lipids and lipoprotein plasma levels as well. This study investigated whether apoE polymorphism affects the plasma levels of apoE and the possible association to CAD extent and cognitive functions. Methods: Plasma apoE levels and apoE genotypes were evaluated of subjects with normal coronary arteries, and individuals with angiographycally confirmed mild/moderate or severe atheromatosis. The cognitive performance of the volunteers was also measured by mini-mental state examination (MMSE). Results: Out of the 6 expected genotypes, only 5 were detected in participants: E3/3 (56.0%), E3/4 (23.6%), E4/4 (8.2%), E2/4 (3.3%), E2/3 (8.9%). The ε3 allele (72%) was the most frequent, followed by ε4 (22%) and ε2 (6%). No difference was found in plasma levels of either apoE or in apoE genotype frequencies among the groups, however MMSE scores of CAD patients irrespective of their atheromatosis extent were significantly lower than that seen in the normal population. Conclusions: Although neither apoE plasma levels, nor apoE polymorphism in patients presenting with mild/moderate or severe atheromatosis showed to be associated with CAD severity, the presence of atheromatosis in the heart vessels positively correlated with cognitive dysfunction.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, apolipoprotein-E, atheromatosis, cognitive impairment, coronary artery disease, polymorphism, plasma levels
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