Background: In previous studies we and others have demonstrated an association with apolipoprotein (APOE) ε4 genotype and the presence of cognitive deficits in multiple sclerosis (MS). In this follow-up study, we have assessed whether APOE ε4 status exacerbates progression of cognitive deficits in MS.
Methods: A total of 197 patients with MS were assessed for APOE genotype, and baseline cognitive performance was measured using a standardized battery of tests. One hundred seventy patients (86.3%) were clinically followed up for 1 year and were assessed for progression of cognitive deficits.
Results: The APOE ε4 allele was present in 24.7% of patients. During 1-year follow-up, significant progression of cognitive deficits was found in APOE ε4 carriers (P=0.001) after logistic regression analysis controlling for sex, ethnicity, age, education, disease duration, severity, and subtype.
Conclusions: APOE ε4 carriers with MS have worsening progression of cognitive deficits than noncarriers. APOE ε4 carrier status predicts cognitive decline in verbal learning and memory.