Pooja Rai, Jonas S. Sundarakumar, Nimisha Basavaraju, Reddy Peera Kommaddi, Thomas Gregor Issac

Association between ApoE ε4 genotype and attentional function in non-demented, middle-aged, and older adults from rural India

  • Neurology (clinical)
  • General Neuroscience

Objectives: Several genetic factors have been associated with cognitive decline in aging. Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4 has been widely studied in the risk for pathological cognitive decline, including dementia. However, the association between ApoE ε4 and cognitive functioning in the healthy aging Indian population has been understudied, and the results are ambiguous. Materials and Methods: This study aims to examine the role of the ApoE genotype with attentional function in aging adults (≥45 years) in a rural Indian population. Cross-sectional (baseline) data (n = 2100) was utilized from an ongoing longitudinal cohort study on aging (Srinivaspura Aging, Neurosenescence, and Cognition study). Participants hailed from villages of Srinivaspura in Karnataka, southern India. Participants were categorized based on ApoE-ε4 status into three categories: No ε4, heterozygous ε4, and homozygous ε4. Attentional function was assessed using the auditory and visual attention subtests from a computerized neurocognitive test battery. Linear regression was performed adjusting for age, gender, and education. Results: In model 1 (unadjusted), we did not find an association between ApoE and attention function. In the partially adjusted model 2 (adjusting for age), ApoE ε4 with age was significantly associated with the attention function. Further, with increasing age, there was a decline in attention among homozygous ε4 individuals. Model 3 (model 2 + gender) found that ApoE ε4, age, and gender explained a significant variance in attention function. In addition, with increasing age, males had poor attention in the homozygous as compared to heterozygous group. Model 4 (model 3+ education) explained a significant variance in attention and also revealed that with increasing age, attention declined in the illiterate and low literacy groups in both homozygous and heterozygous groups among both genders. Conclusion: Although ApoE ε4 alone was not associated, it interacted with age, gender, and education to affect attention function in this rural Indian population. Longitudinal cognitive monitoring will yield insights into understanding whether the ApoE ε4 genotype influences the rate of cognitive decline in this rural, aging population.

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