Neuropsychiatric symptoms, previously denominated as behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, are common features of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and are one of the major risk factors for institutionalization. At present, the role of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene in the development of neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD patients is unclear. In this paper, we summarized the findings of the studies of neuropsychiatric symptoms and neuropsychiatric syndromes/endophenotypes in AD in relation to APOE genotypes, with special attention to the possible underlying mechanisms. While some studies failed to find a significant association between APOE and neuropsychiatric symptoms in late-onset AD, other studies reported a significant association between the APOE 4 allele and an increase in agitation/aggression, hallucinations, delusions, and late-life depression or anxiety. Furthermore, some negative studies that focused on the distribution of APOE genotypes between AD patients with or without neuropsychiatric symptoms further emphasized the importance of subgrouping neuropsychiatric symptoms in distinct neuropsychiatric syndromes. Explanations for the variable findings in the existing studies included differences in patient populations, differences in the assessment of neuropsychiatric symptomatology, and possible lack of statistical power to detect associations in the negative studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience