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Keywords:

  • cohort study;
  • motor neuron disease;
  • neurological disorders;
  • neuromuscular diseases;
  • research methods

Background:  The presence of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) 4 genotype is associated with an earlier age of onset for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and several other neurodegenerative disorders. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of ApoE genotypes on the clinical course of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Methods:  Eight hundred and fifty-two consecutive patients with sporadic ALS evaluated at a tertiary care center were investigated for the effect of ApoE genotype on age of onset, rate of motor disease progression, cognitive functioning, and survival in ALS.

Results:  The frequencies of individual ApoE genotypes did not differ between patients with ALS and ALS-free Caucasian populations. Patients with different ApoE genotypes did not differ in the age of onset for ALS (years) (ApoE2 = 57.8 ± 13.7, ApoE3 = 57.3 ± 13.7, ApoE4 = 57.7 ± 13.2; P = 0.97), the rate of disease progression (Appel ALS score/month) (ApoE2 = 2.91 ± 2.66, ApoE3 = 2.67 ± 2.66, ApoE4 = 2.61 ± 2.47; P = 0.89), cognitive status (% cognitively impaired) (ApoE2 = 31.7, ApoE3 = 26.8, ApoE4 = 34.3, P = 0.28), or survival in years (ApoE2 = 3.79 ± 3.70, ApoE3 = 3.17 ± 2.27, ApoE4 = 3.05 ± 1.75; P = 0.85).

Conclusions:  Our results suggest that ApoE genotype does not modify clinical course of sporadic ALS, in stark contrast to the influence of ApoE genotype on the disease course of AD and other neurodegenerative disorders.