April 1, 2004
Boston Cure Project
A number of genetic studies have found that a particular variant of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, APOE-E4, is associated with faster clinical progression in MS. To explore whether this clinical finding is supported by imaging evidence, a group of researchers conducted a study on 99 MS subjects, determining their APOE genotype and then measuring changes in their MRIs over two or more years.
They found that subjects with one or two APOE-E4 variants tended to have a higher rate of brain tissue loss (atrophy) over the study period and a greater proportion of severe lesions called "black holes." Subjects with APOE-E2 variants, on the other hand, experienced a lower rate of atrophy. There were no significant differences in disability progression (EDSS scores) among the APOE groups, but the study period was likely too short to detect these differences.
This study provides further confirmation that the APOE gene affects
MS progression and will hopefully encourage follow-on work into the function
of APOE and its role in MS.
Copyright © 2004, Boston Cure Project