A metabolomic signature of the APOE2 allele

Paola Sebastiani, Zeyuan Song, Dylan Ellis, Qu Tian, Michaela Schwaiger-Haber, Ethan Stancliffe, Michael S. Lustgarten, Cory C. Funk, Priyanka Baloni, Cong Hui Yao, Shakchhi Joshi, Megan M. Marron, Anastasia Gurinovich, Mengze Li, Anastasia Leshchyk, Qingyan Xiang, Stacy L. Andersen, Mary F. Feitosa, Svetlana Ukraintseva, Mette SoerensenOliver Fiehn, Jose M. Ordovas, Marcia Haigis, Stefano Monti, Nir Barzilai, Sofiya Milman, Luigi Ferrucci, Noa Rappaport, Gary J. Patti, Thomas T. Perls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the goal of identifying metabolites that significantly correlate with the protective e2 allele of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, we established a consortium of five studies of healthy aging and extreme human longevity with 3545 participants. This consortium includes the New England Centenarian Study, the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, the Arivale study, the Longevity Genes Project/LonGenity studies, and the Long Life Family Study. We analyzed the association between APOE genotype groups E2 (e2e2 and e2e3 genotypes, N = 544), E3 (e3e3 genotypes, N = 2299), and E4 (e3e4 and e4e4 genotypes, N = 702) with metabolite profiles in the five studies and used fixed effect meta-analysis to aggregate the results. Our meta-analysis identified a signature of 19 metabolites that are significantly associated with the E2 genotype group at FDR < 10%. The group includes 10 glycerolipids and 4 glycerophospholipids that were all higher in E2 carriers compared to E3, with fold change ranging from 1.08 to 1.25. The organic acid 6-hydroxyindole sulfate, previously linked to changes in gut microbiome that were reflective of healthy aging and longevity, was also higher in E2 carriers compared to E3 carriers. Three sterol lipids and one sphingolipid species were significantly lower in carriers of the E2 genotype group. For some of these metabolites, the effect of the E2 genotype opposed the age effect. No metabolites reached a statistically significant association with the E4 group. This work confirms and expands previous results connecting the APOE gene to lipid regulation and suggests new links between the e2 allele, lipid metabolism, aging, and the gut-brain axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Apolipoprotein E
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Longevity
  • Metabolomics


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