Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele's role as a modulator of the relationship between soluble plasma amyloid beta (Aβ) and fibrillar brain Aβ measured by Pittsburgh compound B positron emission tomography ([11C]PiB PET) has not been assessed.
Ninety-six Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative participants with [11C]PiB scans and plasma Aβ1–40 and Aβ1–42 measurements at the time of PET scanning were included. Regional and voxelwise analyses of [11C]PiB data were used to determine the influence of APOE ε4 allele on association of plasma Aβ1–40, Aβ1–42, and Aβ1–40/Aβ1–42 with [11C]PiB uptake.
In APOE ε4− but not ε4+ participants, positive relationships between plasma Aβ1–40/Aβ1–42 and [11C]PiB uptake were observed. Modeling the interaction of APOE and plasma Aβ1–40/Aβ1–42 improved the explained variance in [11C]PiB binding compared with using APOE and plasma Aβ1–40/Aβ1–42 as separate terms.
The results suggest that plasma Aβ is a potential Alzheimer's disease biomarker and highlight the importance of genetic variation in interpretation of plasma Aβ levels.