Mexico has approximately 100 million inhabitants. Most of the urban Mexican population has been considered mestizo (Indian and Spanish descent), whereas the Indian population predominates in rural areas and small towns in the countryside. In this study we analyzed the apolipoprotein E (APOE) polymorphism in Guadalajara (the second largest metropolitan area of Mexico) and its surrounding areas, two adjoining states (Nayarit and Durango), and an Indian town (Huichol Indians) from western Mexico. APOE*3 was the most common allele, and APOE*3/*3 was the most common genotype in all populations studied. Guadalajara revealed the highest frequency of the APOE*2 allele (7.8%); the frequency decreased in the rural area (4.4%), followed by Nayarit (1.6%), and was absent in Durango and in the Huichols. On the contrary, the lowest frequency of the APOE*4 allele was in Guadalajara (8.4%); the frequency increased in the rural area (9.3%), in Nayarit and Durango (11.5% and 11.7%), and reached a high frequency in the Huichol Indians (28%). The distribution of the APOE allele in the western population of Mexico is similar to those described in Mexican American migrants living in the United States but is different from those populations living in Mexico City. This study shows the heterogeneity of the Mexican population, where the frequency of the APOE*2 allele is higher in Guadalajara than in other urban areas of Mexico and is similar to frequencies described in the Caucasian population. On the contrary, the Huichols revealed the highest frequency of the APOE*4 allele in Mexico and in the Americas. This information could be useful for the study of dyslipidemias associated with chronic diseases and as markers of ethnic variation in the Americas.
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Vol. 78 • No. 1