The impact of the insertion (I)/deletion (D) (I/D) polymorphism in the angiotensin 1-converting enzyme (ACE) gene on the extent of white matter myelin loss (ML) was investigated in four regions of the cerebral cortex in an autopsy-confirmed series of 93 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). The possible influence of APO E ε4 allele acting in concert with ACE D allele was assessed. The extent of ML did not differ between D/D, I/D and I/I genotype groups when data from all four brain regions were combined. However, separate analysis showed that the frontal and temporal cortex tended to be affected more severely by ML in patients with D/D genotype compared to those with I/D and I/I genotypes. Stratification according to APO E ε4 allele revealed a greater overall ML in patients bearing at least one copy of ACE D allele and one APO E ε4 allele, especially in individuals homozygous for both. The APO E ε4 allele may therefore act synergistically in patients with AD (and other subjects) bearing ACE D/D genotype to increase the risk of ML, perhaps through transient ischaemic episodes consequent upon poor cardiac output associated with coronary atherosclerosis in patients with the APO E ε4 allele.
- Alzheimer's disease
- white matter myelin loss
- angiotensin 1-converting enzyme gene
- apolipoprotein E gene
- polymerase chain reaction