Behavior Genetics

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 4–19 | Cite as

Gene–Environment Interplay in Physical, Psychological, and Cognitive Domains in Mid to Late Adulthood: Is APOE a Variability Gene?

  • Chandra A. Reynolds
  • Margaret Gatz
  • Kaare Christensen
  • Lene Christiansen
  • Anna K. Dahl Aslan
  • Jaakko Kaprio
  • Tellervo Korhonen
  • William S. Kremen
  • Robert Krueger
  • Matt McGue
  • Jenae M. Neiderhiser
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
  • for the IGEMS consortium
Original Research

Abstract

Despite emerging interest in gene–environment interaction (GxE) effects, there is a dearth of studies evaluating its potential relevance apart from specific hypothesized environments and biometrical variance trends. Using a monozygotic within-pair approach, we evaluated evidence of G×E for body mass index (BMI), depressive symptoms, and cognition (verbal, spatial, attention, working memory, perceptual speed) in twin studies from four countries. We also evaluated whether APOE is a ‘variability gene’ across these measures and whether it partly represents the ‘G’ in G×E effects. In all three domains, G×E effects were pervasive across country and gender, with small-to-moderate effects. Age-cohort trends were generally stable for BMI and depressive symptoms; however, they were variable—with both increasing and decreasing age-cohort trends—for different cognitive measures. Results also suggested that APOE may represent a ‘variability gene’ for depressive symptoms and spatial reasoning, but not for BMI or other cognitive measures. Hence, additional genes are salient beyond APOE.

Keywords

Gene–environment interaction Twins BMI Depression Cognitive performance APOE Variability gene 

Supplementary material

10519_2015_9761_MOESM1_ESM.docx (152 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 153 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandra A. Reynolds
    • 1
  • Margaret Gatz
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kaare Christensen
    • 4
    • 5
  • Lene Christiansen
    • 4
  • Anna K. Dahl Aslan
    • 6
    • 3
  • Jaakko Kaprio
    • 7
  • Tellervo Korhonen
    • 8
    • 9
  • William S. Kremen
    • 10
  • Robert Krueger
    • 11
  • Matt McGue
    • 11
    • 4
  • Jenae M. Neiderhiser
    • 12
  • Nancy L. Pedersen
    • 3
    • 2
  • for the IGEMS consortium
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California RiversideRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medical Epidemiology and BiostatisticsKarolinska InstituteStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Bio-demography, Institute of Public HealthUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Genetics and Department of Clinical Biochemistry and PharmacologyOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  6. 6.Institute of Gerontology, School of Health and WelfareJönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  7. 7.Department of Public Health & Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMMUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  8. 8.Department of Public HealthUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  9. 9.Institute of Public Health and Clinical NutritionUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland
  10. 10.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  11. 11.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  12. 12.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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