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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) disproportionately affects Hispanic individuals, who face about 1.5- fold more risk for AD than non-Hispanic whites (NHW). Few studies examine AD biomarkers by ethnoracial group, even for the well-established susceptibility locus of apolipoprotein E (APOE). This study reviews current literature on the association between APOE and incidence of AD in Hispanic populations. A scoping review was conducted to identify publications with Hispanic study samples that examined prevalence of APOE’s three alleles (e2, e3, e4) and the risk of disease conferred by each. Two researchers combined search results from PubMed, Scopus, and APA PsycInfo databases, deleted duplicates, and independently reviewed publication abstracts to determine study inclusion. A search of APOE initially yielded 201 publications. After review, only 10 articles included Hispanic study samples as well as analyses evaluating APOE’s relationship to AD. Within these studies, most found a lower allele frequency of e4, comparable levels of e2, and higher frequency of e3 in Hispanic groups, relative to African Americans and NHW. The relative risk (RR) for AD increased for e4 homozygosity and heterozygosity in both Hispanic and NHW, but more so for NHW. The e2 allele did not confer protection against AD among Hispanics, whereas e3 alleles displayed no significant effect. The increased risk of AD among Hispanic groups remains largely unknown. Differences in e4 frequency and RR implicate additional unmeasured elements, including interactions among inherited, cultural, and environmental factors. Understanding APOE’s role in AD development requires further investigation to improve diagnostic inequalities.

Publication Date

Spring 2021




Apolipoprotein E or APOE; Alzheimer’s disease; Hispanic; Cognitive impairment


Public Health

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2879 KB


Faculty Mentor: Samantha John, Ph.D.

Apolipoprotein E and Development of Alzheimer’s Disease in Hispanic Populations: A Scoping Review

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