Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2023 Nov 1;64(14):33. doi: 10.1167/iovs.64.14.33.
PURPOSE: Apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4), a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, has controversially been associated with reduced risk of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Here, we sought to systematically quantify the associations of APOE haplotypes with age-related ocular diseases and to assess their scope and age-dependency.
METHODS: We included genetic and registry data from 412,171 Finnish individuals in the FinnGen study. Disease endpoints were defined using nationwide registries. APOE genotypes were directly genotyped using Illumina and Affymetrix arrays or imputed using a custom Finnish reference panel. We evaluated the disease associations of APOE genotypes containing ε2 (without ε4) and ε4 (without ε2) compared with the ε3ε3 genotype using logistic regressions stratified by age.
RESULTS: APOE ε4 enriched haplotypes were inversely associated with overall glaucoma (odds ratio [OR] = 0.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.92-0.99, P = 0.0047), and its subtypes POAG (OR = 0.95, P = 0.027), normal-tension glaucoma (OR = 0.87, P = 0.0058), and suspected glaucoma (OR = 0.95, P = 0.014). Individuals with the ε4 allele also had lower odds for AMD (OR = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.76-0.84, P < 0.001), seen both in dry and neovascular subgroups. A slight negative association was also detected in senile cataract, but this was not reproducible in age-group analyses.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results support prior evidence of the inverse association of APOE ε4 with glaucoma, but the association was weaker than for AMD. We could not show an association with exfoliation glaucoma, supporting the hypothesis that APOE may be involved in regulating retinal ganglion cell degeneration rather than intraocular pressure.