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    The latent variable "δ" (for "dementia") appears to be uniquely responsible for the dementing aspects of cognitive impairment. Age, depression, gender and the apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 allele are independently associated with δ. In this analysis, we explore serum proteins as potential mediators of APOE's specific association with δ in a large, ethnically diverse longitudinal cohort, the Texas Alzheimer's Research and Care Consortium (TARCC). APOE was associated only with C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Adiponectin (APN) and Amphiregulin (AREG), although the latter two's associations did not survive Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. All three proteins were associated with δ and had weak potential mediation effects on APOE's association with that construct. Our findings suggest that APOE's association with cognitive performance is specific to δ and partially mediated by serum inflammatory proteins. The majority of APOE's significant unadjusted effect on δ is unexplained. It may instead arise from direct central nervous system effects, possibly on native intelligence. If so, then APOE may exert a life-long influence over δ and therefore all-cause dementia risk.


    Donald R Royall, Safa Al-Rubaye, Ram Bishnoi, Raymond F Palmer. Few serum proteins mediate APOE's association with dementia. PloS one. 2017;12(3):e0172268

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    PMID: 28291794

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