In a previously reported double-blind, randomized controlled trial (RCT), we demonstrated that daily supplementation with anserine (750 mg) and carnosine (250 mg) improves brain blood flow and memory function in elderly people. Here, we conducted a sub-analysis of MRI data and test scores from the same RCT to determine whether anserine/carnosine supplementation specifically benefits elderly people carrying the APOE e4 allele, which is a risk gene for accelerated brain aging and for the onset of Alzheimer's Disease. We collected data from 68 participants aged 65 years or older who received anserine/carnosine supplementation (ACS) or placebo for 12 months. Subjects were assessed at the start and end of the trial using several neuropsychological tests, including the Wechsler Memory Scale-Logical Memory (WMS-LM). We also collected two types of MRI data, arterial spin labeling (ASL) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) at the start and end of the trial. We found that ACS significantly preserved verbal memory (WMS-LM, F[1,65] = 4.2003, p = 0.0445) and blood flow at frontal areas of the brain (FWEcluster level, p < 0.001). Sub-analysis based on the APOE4 genotype showed a significant preservation of blood flow (p = 0.002, by ASL analysis) and white-matter microstructure (p = 0.003, by DTI analysis) at prefrontal areas in APOE4+ subjects in the active group, while there was no significant difference between APOE4- subjects in the active and placebo groups. The effect of ACS in preserving brain structure and function in elderly people carrying APOE4 should be verified by further studies.
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