Interaction between Alcohol Consumption and Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) Genotype with Cognition in Middle-Aged Men Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractObjective:Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with poorer cognitive function in older adults. Although understudied in middle-aged adults, the relationship between alcohol and cognition may also be influenced by genetics such as the apolipoprotein (ApoE) ε4 allele, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. We examined the relationship between alcohol consumption, ApoE genotype, and cognition in middle-aged adults and hypothesized that light and/or moderate drinkers (≤2 drinks per day) would show better cognitive performance than heavy drinkers or non-drinkers. Additionally, we hypothesized that the association between alcohol use and cognitive function would differ by ApoE genotype (ε4+ vs. ε4−).Method:Participants were 1266 men from the Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging (VETSA; M age = 56; range 51–60) who completed a neuropsychological battery assessing seven cognitive abilities: general cognitive ability (GCA), episodic memory, processing speed, executive function, abstract reasoning, verbal fluency, and visuospatial ability. Alcohol consumption was categorized into five groups: never, former, light, moderate, and heavy.Results:In fully adjusted models, there was no significant main effect of alcohol consumption on cognitive functions. However, there was a significant interaction between alcohol consumption and ApoE ε4 status for GCA and episodic memory, such that the relationship of alcohol consumption and cognition was stronger in ε4 carriers. The ε4+ heavy drinking subgroup had the poorest GCA and episodic memory.Conclusions:Presence of the ε4 allele may increase vulnerability to the deleterious effects of heavy alcohol consumption. Beneficial effects of light or moderate alcohol consumption were not observed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2021

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • April 13, 2023 8:37 AM

Full Author List

  • Slayday RE; Gustavson DE; Elman JA; Beck A; McEvoy LK; Tu XM; Fang B; Hauger RL; Lyons MJ; McKenzie RE

author count

  • 14

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1355-6177

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7661

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 56

end page

  • 68


  • 27


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