OBJECTIVE Dementia is a debilitating illness with a disproportionate burden in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Among the contributors, genetic variation at the apolipoprotein E locus (APOE) is posited to convey a strong effect. This study compared and contrasted the association of APOE with cognitive performance and cerebral structure in the setting of T2D.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS European Americans from the Diabetes Heart Study (DHS) MIND (n = 754) and African Americans from the African American (AA)– DHS MIND (n = 517) were examined. The cognitive battery assessed executive function, memory, and global cognition, and brain MRI was performed.
RESULTS In European Americans and African Americans, the APOE E4 risk haplotype group was associated with poorer performance on the modified Mini-Mental Status Examination (P < 0.017), a measure of global cognition. In contrast to the literature, the APOE E2 haplotype group, which was overrepresented in these participants with T2D, was associated with poorer Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test performance (P < 0.032). Nominal associations between APOE haplotype groups and MRI-determined cerebral structure were observed.
CONCLUSIONS Compared with APOE E3 carriers, E2 and E4 carriers performed worse in the cognitive domains of memory and global cognition. Identification of genetic contributors remains critical to understanding new pathways to prevent and treat dementia in the setting of T2D.
- Received April 18, 2016.
- Accepted September 7, 2016.
- © 2016 by the American Diabetes Association.