eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 13
Clinical research

Postmenopausal cognitive changes and androgen levels in the context of apolipoprotein E polymorphism

Iwona Bojar
Jarosław Pinkas
Mariusz Gujski
Alfred Owoc
Dorota Raczkiewicz
Kasia Gustaw Rothenberg

Arch Med Sci 2017; 13, 5: 1148–1159
Online publish date: 2016/10/10
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Introduction: The focus of this study was to assess cognitive functions in relation to androgens and specifically testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone in postmenopausal women as well as the correlation between cognitive functions and these two androgens according to polymorphism of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE).

Material and methods: A group of 402 women was recruited to the study (minimum 2 years after the last menstruation, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) more than 30 U/ml and no dementia signs on Montreal Cognitive Assessment). The computerized battery of the Central Nervous System Vital Signs test was used to diagnose cognitive functions. APOE genotyping was performed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Testosterone (TTE) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the blood serum were assessed for further statistical correlations analysis.

Results: In the group of postmenopausal women, higher testosterone concentration was associated with lower scores for Neurocognition Index (NCI) (p = 0.028), memory (p = 0.008) and psychomotor speed (p < 0.001). Presence of at least one APOE 4 allele potentiated testosterone’s negative influence on cognitive functions (p < 0.05). Woman with a high normal level of DHEA scored significantly better in verbal (p = 0.027) and visual memory (p < 0.001) than other participants. APOE polymorphism did not modify the relationship between DHEA concentration and scores for cognitive functions.

Conclusions: Hormonal balance variations after menopause may influence brain processes concerned with cognition, especially memory and psychomotor speed. The observed effects may be related to androgens’ influence on higher cortical functions in the changed hormonal dynamics of the postmenopausal period.

cognitive functions, testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone, menopause, apolipoprotein E

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