Apolipoprotein E ε4 and attentional abilities in Down syndrome


  • Apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) is associated with an attentional advantage during early development but infers a disadvantage later in life in individuals with Down syndrome (DS).

Why this matters

  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk is uncommonly high in individuals with DS, and in carriers of the APOE ε4 allele regardless of DS diagnosis; and while studies have shown APOE ε4 to infer a cognitive advantage in typical development, this has not been explored in children with DS.

  • Revealing a similar APOE ε4 effect pattern in DS individuals as in their typically developing counterparts is useful to inform further research into the increased AD risk in this cohort, and for targeting AD treatment at different developmental stages for optimal quality of life.