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DNA methylation in the APOE gene: its link with Alzheimer's and cardiovascular health

By J. Mur, Daniel McCartney, Rosie M Walker, Archie Campbell, Mairead L. Bermingham, Stewart W Morris, David J Porteous, Andrew M McIntosh, Ian J Deary, Kathryn Evans, Riccardo E Marioni

Posted 21 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/811224

Genetic variation in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). DNA methylation at APOE has been linked to altered cognition and AD. It is unclear if epigenetic marks could be used for predicting future disease. We assessed blood-based DNA methylation at 13 CpGs in the APOE gene in 5828 participants from the Generation Scotland (GS) cohort. Using linear regression, we examined the relationship between APOE methylation, cognition, cholesterol, and the risks for AD and CVD. DNA methylation at two CpGs was associated with the ratio of total-to-HDL cholesterol, but not with cognition, or the risks of AD or CVD. APOE methylation could be involved in the levels of blood cholesterol, but there is no evidence for the utility of APOE methylation as a biomarker for predicting AD or CVD.

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