Natalia Vilor-Tejedor recently led a study in which they investigated whether there is an impact of BDNF Val66Met polymorphism on the volumes of the hippocampal subfields in cognitively unimpaired individuals, as well as whether there exists an interactive effect with the APOE-ε4 the genotype. BDNF Val66Met and APOE genotypes were determined in a sample of 430 cognitively unimpaired late/middle-aged participants from the ALFA study (ALzheimer and FAmilies).
They found significantly larger bilateral subiculum volumes in cognitively unimpaired middle-aged/late middle-aged Met carriers in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, hippocampal subfield volumes reductions associated with APOE-ε4 allele were significantly moderated by BDNF Val66Met status. BDNF Met carriers who were also APOE-ε4 homozygous showed patterns of higher hippocampal subfield volumes than BDNF Val carriers. According to the authors, the present study is the first to show that carrying the BDNF Val66Met polymorphisms partially compensates the decreased hippocampal subfield volumes associated with APOE-ε4 in middle-age cognitively unimpaired individuals.
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Adams Lab members Tavia Evans and Hieab Adams also contributed to this study.