APOE genotype modifies the association between central arterial stiffening and cognition in older adults

Francis E. Cambronero, Dandan Liu, Jacquelyn E. Neal, Elizabeth E. Moore, Katherine A. Gifford, James G. Terry, Sangeeta Nair, Kimberly R. Pechman, Katie E. Osborn, Timothy J. Hohman, Susan P. Bell, J. David Sweatt, Thomas J. Wang, Joshua A. Beckman, John Jeffrey Carr, Angela L. Jefferson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Arterial stiffening is associated with cognitive impairment and prodromal Alzheimer's disease. This study tested the interaction between arterial stiffening and an Alzheimer's disease genetic risk factor (apolipoprotein E [APOE] genotype) on cognition among older adults. Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants with normal cognition (n = 162, 72 ± 7 years, 29% APOE-ε4 carrier) and mild cognitive impairment (n = 121, 73 ± 8 years, 42% APOE-ε4 carrier) completed neuropsychological assessment and cardiac MRI to assess aortic stiffening using pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s). Linear regression models stratified by cognitive diagnosis related aortic PWV × APOE-ε4 status to neuropsychological performances, adjusting for demographic and vascular risk factors. PWV × APOE-ε4 related to poorer performance on measures of lexical retrieval (β = −0.29, p = 0.01), executive function (β = −0.44, p = 0.02), and episodic memory (β = −3.07, p = 0.02). Among participants with higher aortic PWV, APOE-ε4 modified the association between central arterial stiffening and cognition, such that carriers had worse performances than noncarriers. Findings add to a growing body of evidence for APOE-vascular interactions on cognition in older adults and warrant further research into less heart-healthy cohorts where the association between PWV and cognition among older adults might be stronger.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cardiac MRI
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Pulse wave velocity
  • Vascular risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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