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There is little information on the association of the APOEe4 allele and AD risk in African populations. In previous analyses from the Indianapolis-Ibadan dementia project, we have reported that APOE ε4 increased the risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in African Americans but not in Yoruba. This study represents a replication of this earlier work using enriched cohorts and extending the analysis to include cognitive decline.
In this longitudinal study of two community dwelling cohorts of elderly Yoruba and African Americans, APOE genotyping was conducted from blood samples taken on or before 2001 (1,871 African Americans & 2,200 Yoruba). Mean follow up time was 8.5 years for African Americans and 8.8 years for Yoruba. The effects of heterozygosity or homozygosity of ε4 and of the possession of e4 on time to incident AD and on cognitive decline were determined using Cox's proportional hazards regression and mixed effects models.
After adjusting for covariates, one or two copies of the APOE ε4 allele were significant risk factors for incident AD (p < 0.0001) and cognitive decline in the African-American population (p < 0001). In the Yoruba, only homozygosity for APOE ε4 was a significant risk factor for AD (p = 0.0002) but not for cognitive decline (p = 0.2346), however, possession of an e4 allele was significant for both incident AD (p = 0.0489) and cognitive decline (p = 0.0425).
In this large longitudinal comparative study, APOE ε4 had a significant, but weaker, effect on incident AD and on cognitive decline in Yoruba than in African Americans. The reasons for these differences remain unclear.
High levels of homocysteine have been associated with increased risk for dementia although results have been inconsistent. There are no reported studies from the developing world including Africa.
In this longitudinal study of two community-dwelling cohorts of elderly Yoruba and African Americans, levels of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and folate were measured from blood samples taken in 2001. These levels were compared in two groups, participants who developed incident dementia in the follow-up until 2009 (59 Yoruba and 101 African Americans) and participants who were diagnosed as cognitively normal or in the good performance category at their last follow-up (760 Yoruba and 811 African Americans). Homocysteine levels were divided into quartiles for each site.
After adjusting for age, education, possession of ApoE, smoking, and time of enrollment the higher quartiles of homocysteine were associated with a non-significant increase in dementia risk in the Yoruba (homocysteine quartile 4 vs. 1 OR: 2.19, 95% CI 0.95–5.07, p = 0.066). For the African Americans, there was a similar but non-significant relationship between higher homocysteine levels and dementia risk. There were no significant relationships between levels of vitamin B12 and folate and incident dementia in either site although folate levels were lower and vitamin B12 levers were higher in the Yoruba than in the African Americans.
Increased homocysteine levels were associated with a similar but non-significant increase in dementia risk for both Yoruba and African Americans despite significant differences in folate levels between the two sites.
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