APOE e4 Gene Linked to Retinopathy in Non-Diabetics

Apolipoprotein alleles have relatively weak association with microvascular changes in the eye

THURSDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- The e-4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is associated with a greater risk of retinopathy in both black and white adult patients without diabetes, according to study findings published in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Tien Y. Wong, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne in Australia, and colleagues used data from 10,036 men and women who underwent DNA testing during the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. A randomly chosen sample of patients had retinal photographs of one eye taken during their third examination, and the photographs were graded for signs of microvascular abnormalities.

Patients with the APOE e4 allele had a greater risk of non-diabetic retinopathy than other subjects, with a multivariate adjusted odds ratio of 1.4 in blacks and 1.3 in whites. There were no other associations with significant differences in retinal arteriolar or venular diameters.

"APOE e4 was weakly associated with retinopathy in persons without diabetes. Other signs were less consistently associated with APOE polymorphisms," the authors conclude.

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