Background: We examined the influence of apolipoprotein E (apoE) polymorphism on longitudinal changes in serum lipids by following the subjects participating in The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study over a 21-year period.
Methods: Serum lipids were determined in randomly selected Finnish children and adolescents in 1980 and the subjects were re-examined in 1983, 1986 and after 21 years in 2001. ApoE polymorphism was determined in 1736 participants, and serum lipid values and apoE phenotypes were available for 1233 subjects.
Results: ApoE phenotype-related differences in serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol were maintained throughout the 21-year follow-up from childhood to adulthood, i.e., the apoE ɛ2 allele was consistently associated with lower and the ɛ4 allele with higher total and LDL-cholesterol (p<0.001 for all). In adulthood, there was also a significant apoE phenotype-related difference in high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol (p=0.007), and the ɛ2 allele was associated with higher and the ɛ4 allele with lower apoA-I and HDL-cholesterol. In addition, apoB increased in the phenotype order E3/2<E3/3<E4 (E4/3+E4/4) (p<0.001). The LDL-lowering effect of the ɛ2 allele was greater in adulthood than in childhood, i.e., there was a significant apoE phenotype×time interaction (p=0.039) with longitudinal change in LDL-cholesterol.
Conclusions: ApoE polymorphism is associated with lipid levels at different ages and affects the longitudinal change in LDL-cholesterol from childhood to adulthood.
Clin Chem Lab Med 2007;45:592–8.