A study by Karen M. Rodrigue, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Dallas, and colleagues suggests that patients with hypertension with at least one genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease (an apolipoprotein E Ɛ4 allele) showed more β-amyloid (Αβ) accumulation than patients with only one risk factor or no risk factors.
The study included 118 cognitively normal adults ages 47 to 89 years. Participants were classified in the hypertension group (69 participants, average age 74 years) if they had a diagnosis of hypertension or if their blood pressure was higher than 140 mmm Hg systolic/90 mm Hg diastolic. The study participants underwent Αβ positron emission tomography and participants were genotyped for apolipoprotein E.
“Interestingly, these initial findings suggest that individuals with an ΑPOE Ɛ4 allele may be able to attenuate their likelihood for amyloid accumulation through proper control of blood pressure. However, future studies with larger sample sizes that examine additional factors, such as duration of hypertension treatment, are needed to support these findings. The identification of hypertension as an additional risk factor for amyloid plaque deposition is encouraging as we may be able to prevent, or at least slow, pathological aging in some individuals through lifestyle modification or pharmacological intervention,” the study concludes.
(JAMA Neurol. Published online March 18, 2013. doi:10.1001/.jamaneurol.2013.1342.