Cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) is associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) and might contribute to the relationship between apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) and LOAD, in older people. However, it is unclear whether CSVD begins in middle age in individuals genetically predisposed to LOAD.
We assessed the relationship between radiological markers of CSVD, white matter hyperintensities and microbleeds, and genetic predisposition to LOAD in a cross-sectional analysis of cognitively normal subjects aged 40-59 years recruited from the PREVENT Dementia study.
Microbleed prevalence was 14.5%, and mean ± standard deviation white matter hyperintensity percentage of total brain volume was 0.41 ± 0.28%. There was no significant association between APOE ε4 carrier status or history of parental dementia and white matter hyperintensity volume (P = .713, .912 respectively) or microbleeds (P = .082, .562 respectively) on multiple regression.
Genetic predisposition to LOAD, through APOE genotype or AD family history, is not associated with CSVD in middle age.