APOE alleles ε2/ε4 increase risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in the lobar regions, presumably through their influence on risk of cerebral amyloid angiopathy. We investigated whether these variants also associate with ICH severity, specifically larger ICH volume at presentation.
We initially investigated the association of ε2/ε4 with ICH volume and outcome in a Discovery sample of 865 individuals of European ancestry. Replication was completed in two samples, comprising 946 Europeans (Replication I) and 214 African-Americans (Replication II) respectively. Admission ICH volume was quantified on CT scan. Poor functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale: 3 – 6) and mortality were assessed at 90 days.
Among patients with lobar ICH, APOE ε2 was associated with larger ICH volume: each allele copy increased hematoma size by 5·3 cc (95% CI 4·1 – 6·2 cc, p = 0.004), with replication in Europeans (p = 0·008) and African Americans (p = 0·016). Consistent with this, ε2 was associated with both mortality (OR = 1·50, 1·23 – 1·82, p = 2·45 × 10−5) and poor functional outcome (OR = 1·52, 1·25 – 1·85, p = 1·74 × 10−5). We were not able to replicate published associations between ε4 and overall ICH mortality in a meta-analysis of all available data (n = 2202 ICH cases, OR = 1·08, 95% CI: 0·86 – 1·36, p = 0·52).
In lobar ICH, APOE ε2 is associated with larger ICH volume at presentation, and hence increased mortality and disability. These findings suggest a role for the vasculopathic changes associated with the ε2 allele in influencing the severity and clinical course of lobar ICH.
This study was funded by NIH-NINDS, the American Heart Association, government agencies in Spain, Poland and Austria, academic institutions in Sweden and Austria, and philanthropic organizations.