Protective effect of the APOE-e3 allele in Alzheimer's disease.
ABSTRACT Although several alleles of susceptibility to Alzheimer's disease (AD) have been studied in the last decades, few polymorphisms have been considered as risk factors for the disease. Among them, the APOE-e4 allele appears to be the major genetic risk factor for the onset of the disease. However, it is important to confirm the potential susceptibility of these genetic variants in different populations in order to establish a genetic profile for the disease in specific communities. This study analyzed the APOE polymorphisms regarding susceptibility to AD in a sample of 264 individuals (primarily Caucasians; 82 cases and 182 controls) in the population from Vitória, ES, Brazil, by PCR restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) methods. The patients were selected according to clinical criteria for probable AD. Whereas the e4 allele showed statistically significant positive association with susceptibility to AD (OR = 3.01, 95%CI = 1.96-4.61; P < 0.0001), the e2 allele did not. The results of the e4 allele confirm the role of this polymorphism as a risk factor for AD in the sample studied as observed in other populations. Although the e3 allele has been considered neutral in several studies, our results suggest that it acts as a protective factor against AD in the population studied (OR = 0.46, 95%CI = 0.30-0.67; P < 0.0001). This study may provide a new insight into the role of the APOE-e3 allele in the etiology of AD and might help to estabilish a profile of risk for AD in the population from Vitória, ES.