Apolipoprotein E (Apo E) genotyping was performed on an autopsy cohort of neuropathologically verified non-demented controls and subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) resident in nursing homes in the Oslo area. AD was associated with a significantly increased frequency of the Apo E epsilon 4 allele; the frequency of the epsilon 2 and epsilon 3 alleles was lower in AD but not significantly so. Age at death in the control group and the AD group did not differ significantly; neither did age at death nor age at onset of dementia in AD vary according to Apo E genotype, though tendencies towards an earlier age at death was seen in individuals with epsilon 4/4 and earlier age at onset dementia in the presence of an epsilon 4 allele and a later age of onset the presence of an epsilon 3 allele were seen. Possession of an epsilon 2 allele had no effect on age at onset of dementia or age at death. Among the possible genotypes there was a trend towards a progression of earliest onset epsilon 4/4, epsilon 2/4, epsilon 3/4, epsilon 3/3, epsilon 2/3 latest onset of dementia and longest duration epsilon 2/4, epsilon 4/4, epsilon 3/4, epsilon 3/3, epsilon 2/3 to shortest duration of dementia.