Facts about the APOE4 Gene

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Have you heard about the APOE4 gene yet? There is so much information linking the APOE4 gene to Alzheimer’s disease, which increases the risk of developing dementia. You may wonder what the APOE4 gene is and how people acquire it. We got the answers to your questions. This article is well-prepared in the simplest terms to help you understand all the facts about the APOE4 gene.

We inherit genes from our biological parents. Genes significantly define an individual’s height, eye, and hair color. They are also associated with the body’s cells’ health. Some genes impact an individual’s risk of acquiring a particular disease. They tend to increase or decrease the risk level. However, it is proven that genes are not the causal factors of a disease but rather a risk factor. For instance, the APOE4 gene is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

What is APOE4 Gene?

The APOE gene has different forms or alleles. We inherit at least two copies of the APOE gene from our parents – one from the mother and the other from the father. The APOE3 gene is one of the most common and has not been reported to have any risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease. APOE3 plays a neutral role in the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. It does not increase or decrease the risk of the occurrence of the disease. APOE2 is a rare gene that is associated with providing some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. APOE2 allele tends to suppress Alzheimer’s disease. People with the APOE2 gene can only suffer from Alzheimer’s much later in life due to age.   

The APOE4 gene is another type of APOE gene. It is linked with the increased development or early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Medical statistics show that approximately 25% of the population carries one copy of the APOE4 gene, while 2-3% carries two copies. An individual with two copies of the APOE4 gene is at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than a person with only one copy of the APOE4 gene. A person with one or two copies of APOE4 genes may develop Alzheimer’s disease in 5 to 10 years. An estimated 40% to 65% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are carriers of one or two copies of the APOE4 gene.

Being diagnosed with the APOE4 gene is not a death sentence. Further studies have proven that inheriting an APOE4 allele does not guarantee that a person will automatically develop Alzheimer’s. APOE4 gene is only considered a “risk gene” for Alzheimer’s. Some carriers of the APOE4 gene never get the disease, and medical reports have shown cases of people who develop Alzheimer’s and do not have any APOE4 gene. So there is no cause for alarm. Despite the health diagnosis, we only need to approach the matter openly.

Paid Alzheimer’s Disease study for those with the APOE4/E4 gene. Click here for more information.

The Role of APOE Gene in the Body

Although much available information has focused on the APOE4 gene as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, the APOE gene plays a significant role in our bodies. The APOE gene is responsible for making apolipoprotein E protein. Apolipoprotein E combines with fats (lipids) in the body and forms lipoprotein molecules. Lipoproteins are responsible for packaging cholesterol and other essential fats and carrying them through the bloodstream. Normal cholesterol levels are important in preventing heart and blood vessels related disorders like stroke and heart attack.

Research has shown that a lipid imbalance tends to impair the cells’ essential processes like creating cell membranes, generating energy, and moving molecules within the cell. Therefore, whenever one develops problems with brain cells’ ability to process fats or lipids, they tend to develop Alzheimer’s and other related diseases. Further studies have proven that the APOE4 gene affects lipid metabolism in brain cells. APOE4 gene is linked with the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

If it is so bad for us, you could be wondering why the APOE4 gene has not been eliminated from the population. Surprisingly, studies show that the APOE4 variant has some positive cognitive impacts. The APOE4 gene has been proven to help boost short-term memory and protect against subtle memory loss early in Alzheimer’s. Instead of eliminating the APOE4 gene, it would help to focus on studies that show how possession of an APOE4 allele can positively impact one’s cognitive function. This could help explain why the APOE variant persists and guide Alzheimer’s treatment. It has been hinted that the APOE4 gene has benefits like boosting fertility and cognition. APOE4 carriers have also been reported to perform slightly better than non-carriers, especially on tasks requiring quickly recalling objects or locations.

APOE4 Gene Test

How can you test for the existence of the APOE4 gene in your body? A blood test is conducted to evaluate whether or not a person has the APOE4 Alzheimer’s risk gene. Some tests can also identify if a person has genes linked with the risk of 10 diseases and conditions. One of those conditions is late-onset Alzheimer’s. A blood test, however, does not determine if a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Bottom Line

The APOE gene is involved in making a protein that helps carry cholesterol and other types of fat in the bloodstream, according to the National Institutes of Health. The APOE4 gene is one of the many alleles or forms of APOE and is considered a risk factor gene in developing Alzheimer’s disease. An individual can have one or two copies of the APOE4 gene where having two copies increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. However, the presence of the APOE4 gene is not a guarantee for Alzheimer’s. Similarly, not all who have Alzheimer’s have the APOE4 gene. Other cognitive benefits are associated with the APOE4 gene like improved memory and improved fertility. Even though the APOE4 gene increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, it also provides cognitive advantages and other benefits.

Paid Alzheimer’s Disease study for those with the APOE4/E4 gene. Click here for more information.