Cognitive functions, apolipoprotein E genotype and hormonal replacement therapy of postmenopausal women.

OBJECTIVE: The results of many studies revealed that estrogen plus progestogen therapy (EPT) may modify dementia development risk in relation to the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) polymorphisms. However, the mechanism and subsequently clinical importance of such an effect are still unexplained. The objective of this study was to explore the influence of EPT on cognitive functioning of women in their postmenopausal life in relation to APOE polymorphism.

METHODS: The group of 214 women was recruited (106 out of this group with EPT) to the study. The inclusion criteria were: minimum two years after the last menstruation, FSH concentration over 30 U/ml and no dementia signs on Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Computerized battery of Central Nervous System Vital Signs (CNS VS) test was used to diagnostic cognitive functions. APOE genotype was performed by multiplex PCR. Statistical analysis was performed using two-way analysis of variance in STATISTICA software.

RESULTS & CONCLUSION: The women after menopause have reduced neurocognitive index (NCI) and cognitive functions. NCI and all studied cognitive functions of the patients depended significantly on APOE polymorphisms. The presence of APOE4 corresponded with decreased cognitive functions as opposed to APOE2 which was present in women with better level of cognitive functions. Constantly using EPT correlated with three cognitive functions: memory, verbal memory and processing speed, which were significantly worse for women taking EPT than not taking ones. The interaction between APOE polymorphisms and EPT application was significant only for processing speed. EPT applying women with ε2/ε3 and ε4 obtained better scores in processing speed than women not taking EPT with these APOE polymorphisms. The opposite situation concerned women with ε3/ε3, women taking EPT achieved worse processing scores in comparison with those not taking EPT. It should be noted that APOE polymorphism assessment may be a factor in predicting the effect of EPT on cognitive functioning in postmenopausal period.

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