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Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is consistently associated with dementia in the general population. Findings on the role of this gene in persons with Down's syndrome (DS) are inconclusive. We studied the effects of APOE on mortality and dementia in a longitudinal prospective study of a large population-based sample of persons with DS (n=425), demented and non-demented. There was evidence that APOE epsilon4 is correlated with the rate of decline in the social competence rating scale (SRZ) (p=0.04). In our population, we found overall a modest but not statistical significant effect on the prevalence of dementia (OR=1.57, 95%CI: 0.87-2.82). We did observed a significant long-term effect on the incidence of dementia (HR=4.66, 95%CI: 1.35-16.14), but for those with a follow-up less than 3 years the risk was not significantly increased: HR=0.83 (95%CI 0.35-1.94). When pooling our data in a meta-analysis, the APOE epsilon4 allele shows a 1.59-fold (95%CI: 1.19-2.12) increase in risk of dementia in persons with DS. We conclude that APOE is influencing the risk of dementia in persons with DS.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiology of aging

Publication Date





828 - 835


Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Humans, Dementia, Down Syndrome, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Apolipoproteins E, Prevalence, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Comorbidity, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Female, Male