Apolipoprotein E ε4 is associated with neuronal loss in the substantia nigra in Alzheimer's disease

Richard Camicioli, Jeffrey Kaye, Haydeh Payami, Melvyn J. Ball, Geoffrey Murdoch

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Apolipoprotein E ε4 (ApoE ε4) is associated with an earlier age at onset of Alzheimer's (AD) and possibly Parkinson's disease, suggesting a general role for ApoE ε4 in neuronal plasticity. Among 31 prospectively assessed subjects with pathologically confirmed AD (without Lewy bodies), ε4+ subjects had a longer duration of disease (by 2.8 years, p = 0.04). Only cell loss in the substantia nigra (p = 0.002) was associated with ε4. Neither neurofibrillary tangles nor plaque counts were associated with ε4. Cell counts of pigmented neurons in single midbrain sections in ε4+ specimens were 72% of those in ε4-substantia nigra (p = 0.04). These findings confirm that cell loss in the substantia nigra is associated with ε4 in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-441
Number of pages5
JournalDementia and geriatric cognitive disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 12 1999



  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Neuronal loss
  • Substantia nigra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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