Neurological Sciences

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 1037–1042 | Cite as

Education and occupation provide reserve in both ApoE ε4 carrier and noncarrier patients with probable Alzheimer’s disease

  • V. Garibotto
  • B. Borroni
  • S. Sorbi
  • S. F. Cappa
  • A. Padovani
  • D. PeraniEmail author
Original Article


According to the reserve hypothesis, a high educational/occupational attainment can modulate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) clinical expression. The impact of the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) ε4 allele on the reserve mechanism in AD has not been assessed. Aim of this European multicenter study was to evaluate the metabolic correlates of reserve and ApoE genotype in early probable AD. 51 AD subjects, 27 ε4 carriers, and 24 noncarriers, underwent FDG-PET brain imaging. We used the general linear model as implemented in SPM2 to test for the linear correlation of a reserve index, accounting for both educational and occupational level, with brain glucose metabolism, controlling for demographic variables (age and gender) and for cognitive performance. We found an inverse correlation between a reserve index, accounting for educational/occupational level, and metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus in both ε4 carriers and noncarriers, and no significant difference between the groups. We show that education and occupation act as proxies for reserve in ε4 carriers, compensating for an unfavorable genetic background; we also show that the degree of compensation does not differ significantly by ApoE ε4 status.


Alzheimer’s disease ApoE PET Glucose metabolism Education 



This study was financially supported by NEST-DD (5th European Research Program) and DIMI (6th European Research Program: LSHB-CT-2005-512146). We thank Kalbe E, PhD; Herholz K, MD; Holthoff V, MD; Pupi A, MD for contributing the patients within this NEST-DD European multicenter study. This study was financially supported by NEST-DD (5th European Research Program) and DIMI (6th European Research Program: LSHB-CT-2005-512146).

Conflict of interest

The authors report no financial disclosures. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Garibotto
    • 1
    • 2
  • B. Borroni
    • 3
  • S. Sorbi
    • 4
  • S. F. Cappa
    • 5
    • 6
  • A. Padovani
    • 3
  • D. Perani
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Nuclear Medicine Unit and Division of NeuroscienceSan Raffaele Scientific InstituteMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medical Imaging, Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging UnitGeneva University and Geneva University HospitalGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyUniversity of BresciaBresciaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Neurological and Psychiatric SciencesUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly
  5. 5.Department of Clinical NeuroscienceSan Raffaele Scientific InstituteMilanItaly
  6. 6.Vita-Salute San Raffaele UniversityMilanItaly

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