Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

In the last decade, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has emerged as a tool to study changes in brain function associated with a genetic risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD), with a particular focus on the effects of the APOE-ε4 allele. This review compiles the existing literature concerning the effects of APOE genotype on the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response, measured during task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging. While most studies report a significant difference in brain activity between carriers and noncarriers of the ε4 allele, there are inconsistencies in the direction and location of change. These inconsistencies were addressed by examining the effect of task, family history of Alzheimer's disease, and age on the relationship between APOE genotype and the BOLD response, but no clear pattern emerged. The review discusses the interpretation of BOLD differences between ε4 carriers and noncarriers, provides suggestions for future studies, and highlights important limitations of this type of research.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurobiol Aging

Publication Date





323 - 334


Alzheimer Disease, Animals, Apolipoprotein E4, Brain, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Nerve Net, Oxygen