Psychiatry Investig.  2020 Oct;17(10):1006-1012. 10.30773/pi.2020.0182.

Association between Thyroid Hormones, Apolipoprotein E, and Cognitive Function among Cognitively-Normal Elderly Dwellers

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Research Institute of Medical Science, Konkuk University Medical School, Chungju, Republic of Korea


The correlation among the thyroid-related hormones, Apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE ε4) and cognitive function has been reported despite controversial results. This study was designed to investigate this correlation among cognitively-normal elderly dwellers.
This study assessed 507 cognitively normal individuals aged over 60 who underwent comprehensive hematological and neuropsychological assessments including the quantification of serum free thyroxine and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) as well as the Korean version of the Consortium Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s disease. The Korean version of Geriatric Depression Scale was also employed to evaluate the severity of depression. Age, gender, education, and the presence of APOE ε4 were taken into account as covariates.
There was a significant positive association between verbal fluency test (VFT), Word List Memory Test (WLMT), and Word List Recall Test (WLRT) score and serum TSH levels (p=0.007, 0.031, and 0.023 respectively). The further analysis adding the interaction between APOE ε4 and TSH level, however, revealed only VFT score was significantly influenced by this interaction (p=0.026).
Lower serum TSH levels had impacts on both semantic memory (VFT) and episodic memory (WLMT, WLRT) among cognitively-normal elderly, whereas the interaction of TSH and APOE ε4 influenced only the task of semantic memory (VFT) in this group.


Thyroid hormones, APOE, Cognitive function, Memory, Aged
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