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Oestrogen replacement therapy may improve memory functioning in the absence of APOE e4

Burkhardt, M.S., Foster, J.K., Laws, S.M., Baker, L.D., Craft, S., Gandy, S.E., Stuckey, B.G.A., Clarnette, R., Nolan, D., Hewson-Bower, B. and Martins, R.N. (2004) Oestrogen replacement therapy may improve memory functioning in the absence of APOE e4. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 6 (3). pp. 221-228.

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There is currently intense controversy regarding the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in postmenopausal women, in relation to its therapeutic efficacy in Alzheimer's disease (AD). It has been suggested that the benefits of HRT may be modified by apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype (the major genetic risk factor for AD). Here we report the findings of the first study designed to systematically explore the interaction of (a) oestrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and (b) possession of an ε4 allele of APOE on specific elements of episodic learning and memory that are commonly used indices of age-related cognitive decline. This data represents a cross-sectional analysis of the interaction of ERT and APOE genotype on learning and memory in a cohort of 181 healthy postmenopausal women [ERT users (n = 101, mean age 65.40 ± 6.34); ERT non-users (n = 80, mean age 67.03 ± 6.80)] residing in Perth, Western Australia. The highest level of learning (trials 2-5; P < 0.05) and memory (e.g. total number of items recalled; P < 0.05) performance was observed in women taking ERT who were not carriers of the APOE ε4 allele. APOEε4 carriers receiving ERT performed no better on episodic memory testing than APOE ε4 carriers who were not receiving ERT. These cognitive differences related to genetic profile, were noted on both recall and recognition (P = 0.005) tests of memory. The findings have significance for evaluating whether and when ERT may be clinically indicated. Specifically, ERT may benefit the cognitive functioning of women not carrying the APOE ε4 allele.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Clinical Immunology and Biomedical Statistics
Publisher: IOS Press
Copyright: 2004 IOS Press and the Authors
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