, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 213-216

Lack of association between apolipoprotein E genotype and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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ABSTRACT

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neuro-degenerative disorder with both sporadic and familial forms. Approximately 20% of autosomal dominant ALS is caused by mutations in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. The causes of the remaining forms of ALS are unknown. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD), another neuro-degenerative disease. The APOE-4 allele increases risk and decreases age at onset in AD. Studies examining ALS and APOE have failed to show a significant effect of APOE on overall risk in ALS. Studies examining the effect of APOE-4 on site of onset in ALS (bulbar or limb) have been contradictory, with some studies showing an APOE association with bulbar onset and others showing no effect. Sample size was limited in these previous reports, particularly with respect to the number of bulbar onset cases (n = 33, 34 and 53). The present study examines a large collaborative data set of ALS patients (n = 363; 95 with bulbar onset) and age-matched neurologically normal controls. The results for these data showed no significant differences in the percentage of subjects with the APOE-4/4 and APOE-4/X genotypes (X = APOE-2 or APOE-3) when comparing cases and controls in both the overall data set or in the data set stratified by site of onset. Similarly, logistic regression analysis in the overall and stratified data set while controlling for sex showed no increase or decrease in risk of ALS associated with the APOE-4 allele. In addition, there were no significant differences in age at onset between patients with APOE-X/X, and APOE-4/4 or APOE-4/X genotypes, overall or stratified by site of onset. We conclude based on these data that the APOE gene is not a major genetic risk factor for site of onset in ALS.

Received: June 30, 1997 / Accepted: August 10, 1997