The Association Between Apolipoprotein E and Functional Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury: A Meta-Analysis


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Abstract

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability. Previous studies have investigated the association of apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 with functional outcome after TBI and reported inconsistent results.The purpose of this study was to perform a systematic literature search and conduct meta-analyses to examine whether APOE ε4 is associated with poorer functional outcome in patients with TBI.We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase, Google Scholar, and HuGE.The eligibility criteria of this study included the following: Patients had TBI; the studies reported APOE genotype data or provided odds ratios (ORs) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs); the functional outcome was assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) or the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended (GOSE); and patients were followed for at least 3 months after TBI.In all meta-analyses, we used random-effects models to calculate the odds ratio as a measure of association. We examined the association of APOE ε4 with functional outcome at different time points after TBI.A total of 12 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the meta-analyses. We did not find a significant association between APOE ε4 and functional outcome at 6 (P = 0.23), 12 (P = 0.44), and 24 months (P = 0.85) after TBI. However, APOE ε4 was associated with an increased risk of unfavorable long-term (≥6 months) functional outcome after TBI (OR = 1.36, 95% CI: 1.07–1.74, P = 0.01).Limitations of this study include The sample size was limited; the initial severity of TBI varied within and across studies; we could not control for potential confounding factors, such as age at injury and sex; a meta-analysis of the genotype dosage effect was not feasible; and we could not examine the association with specific factors such as neurobehavioral or specific cognitive functions.Our meta-analysis indicates APOE ε4 is associated with the long-term functional outcome of patients with TBI. Future studies that control for confounding factors, with large sample sizes and more homogeneous initial TBI severity levels, are needed to validate the findings from this study.

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