Variation in preclinical cognitive decline suggests additional genetic factors related to Alzheimer’s disease (eg, a non-APOE polygenic risk score [PRS]) may interact with the APOE ε4 allele to influence cognitive decline.
We tested the PRS × APOE ε4 × age interaction on preclinical cognition using longitudinal data from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention. All analyses were fitted using a linear mixed-effects model and adjusted for within individual/family correlation among 1190 individuals.
We found statistically significant PRS × APOE ε4 × age interactions on immediate learning (P = 0.038), delayed recall (P < 0.001), and Preclinical Alzheimer’s Cognitive Composite 3 score (P = 0.026). PRS-related differences in overall and memory-related cognitive domains between people with and without APOE ε4 emerge around age 70, with a much stronger adverse PRS effect among APOE ε4 carriers. The findings were replicated in a population-based cohort.
APOE ε4 can modify the association between PRS and cognition decline.

APOE ε4 can modify the association between polygenic risk scores (PRSs) and longitudinal cognition decline, with the modifying effects more pronounced when the PRS is constructed using a conservative P threshold (eg, P < 5e-8).
The adverse genetic effect caused by the combined effect of the currently known genetic variants is more detrimental among APOE ε4 carriers around age 70.
Individuals who are APOE ε4 carriers with high PRSs are the most vulnerable to the harmful effects caused by genetic burden.

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This post is Copyright: Yuexuan Xu,
Zhongxuan Sun,
Erin Jonaitis,
Yuetiva Deming,
Qiongshi Lu,
Sterling C. Johnson,
Corinne D. Engelman | October 20, 2023

Wiley: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Table of Contents