Apolipoprotein E epsilon 4, Cognitive Function, and Pain Experience in Down Syndrome: A Pilot Study

N.C. de Knegt, C. Schuengel, H.M. Evenhuis, F. Lobbezoo, E.J.A. Scherder

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Objective. The presence of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) epsilon 4 allele might be related to higher pain experience due to increased risk for potentially painful physical conditions and cognitive impairment (less efficient coping with pain). This hypothesis is clinically relevant to examine in adults with Down syndrome (DS) because they are at risk for painful physical conditions, their presence of ApoE epsilon 4 is related to cognitive impairment, and their pain experience is unclear. The present pilot study addressed the associations between ApoE genotype, cognition, and pain in DS. Method. DNA analysis of saliva, neuropsychological tests (assessing memory and executive functioning), and self-reporting pain scales (in rest and aftermovement) were used with a cross-sectional design in 146 adults withDS(mean age 39.1 years, mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, 46% men, 30% ApoE epsilon 4 carrier). Results. The difference between ApoE epsilon 4 carriers and noncarriers was not statistically significant for cognitive function, pain experience, and prevalence of potentially painful conditions. Among epsilon 4 carriers, the presence of potentially painful conditions was associated with worse executive functioning (p = .022, r = .39). Conclusions. The clinical implication of the results is that ApoE epsilon 4 in DS may play a role in pain, although the theoretical explanation via associations with pain experience and cognition remains unclear. Further research should include a large sample of adults with DS selected on diagnosed painful conditions to obtain more insight into the possible role of ApoE genotype (and its association with cognition) in the pain experience of this target group
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-400
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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