Apolipoprotein E ɛ4 (APOE ɛ4) Allele is Associated with Long Sleep Duration Among Elderly with Cognitive Impairment

Maria Basta, Ioannis Zaganas, Panagiotis Simos, Eirini Koutentaki, Christina Dimovasili, Lambros Mathioudakis, Mara Bourbouli, Symeon Panagiotakis, Stefania Kapetanaki, Alexandros Vgontzas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) ɛ4 allele increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Furthermore, among patients with cognitive impairment, longer sleep duration is associated with worse cognitive performance. To date, literature examining the associations between APOE ɛ4 allele and objective sleep duration is limited. OBJECTIVE: Our aim was to assess the association between APOE ɛ4 and objective sleep duration, among patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD. A sub-sample of 89 patients with AD (n = 49) and MCI (n = 40) were recruited from a large, population-based cohort of 3,140 elders (>60 years) residing on Crete, Greece. METHODS: All participants underwent medical history/physical examination, extensive neuropsychiatric and neuropsychological evaluation, 3-day 24 h actigraphy and APOE ɛ4 allele genotyping. Comparisons of sleep duration variables between APOE ɛ4 allele carriers and non-carriers were assessed using ANCOVA, controlling for confounders. RESULTS: The sample included 18 APOE ɛ4 carriers and 71 non-carriers, aged 78.6±6.6 and 78.2±6.5 years, respectively. Comparisons between the APOE ɛ4 carriers and non-carriers revealed no significant differences in terms of demographic and clinical variables. In terms of objective sleep duration across the two groups, APOE ɛ4 carriers compared to non-carriers had significantly longer nighttime Total Sleep Time (nTST) (7.7±1.4 versus 7.2±1.3  h, respectively, p = 0.011), as well as 24 h TST (8.5±1.6 versus 7.8±1.5  h, respectively, p = 0.012). CONCLUSION: Among patients with MCI and AD, APOE ɛ4 carriers have longer objective nighttime and 24 h sleep duration compared to non-carriers. These findings further support that objective long sleep duration is a genetically-driven pre-clinical marker associated with worse prognosis in elderly with cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-771
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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