Moore AM, Mahoney E, Dumitrescu L, De Jager PL, Koran MEI, Petyuk VA, Robinson RA, Ruderfer DM, Cox NJ, Schneider JA, Bennett DA, Jefferson AL, Hohman TJ. APOE ε4-specific associations of VEGF gene family expression with cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiology of Aging. 2020 Dec;87(87). 18-25. PMID: 31791659 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC7064375
Literature suggests vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is protective among those at highest risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele carriers represent a highly susceptible population for cognitive decline, and VEGF may confer distinct protection among APOE-ε4 carriers. We evaluated interactions between cortical expression of 10 VEGF gene family members and APOE-ε4 genotype to clarify which VEGF genes modify the association between APOE-ε4 and cognitive decline. Data were obtained from the Religious Orders Study and Rush Memory and Aging Project (N = 531). Linear regression assessed interactions on global cognition. VEGF genes NRP1 and VEGFA interacted with APOE-ε4 on cognitive performance (p.fdr < 0.05). Higher NRP1 expression correlated with worse outcomes among ε4 carriers but better outcomes among ε4 noncarriers, suggesting NRP1 modifies the risk for poor cognitive scores based on APOE-ε4 status. NRP1 regulates angiogenesis, and literature suggests vessels in APOE-ε4 brains are more prone to leaking, perhaps placing young vessels at risk for ischemia. Results suggest that future therapeutics targeting brain angiogenesis should also consider ε4 allele status.