Behavioral phenotype and BDNF differences related to apoE isoforms and sex in young transgenic mice.
ABSTRACT Human apolipoprotein E (apoE) plays an important role in lipid transport and distribution, being involved in neurite growth and neuroprotection in the brain. In humans, the apoE4 isoform is a risk factor for developing Azheimer's disease (AD), while apoE2 seems to provide neuroprotection. However, very little information is available on apoE2 genotype. In the present study, we have characterized behavioral and learning phenotypes in young transgenic mice apoE2, apoE3 and apoE4 of both sexes. We have also determined the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor TrkB in cortex and hippocampus of male and female mice carrying either genotype. Our results show a worse performance of apoE4 and apoE2 mice in the acquisition of a spatial task compared to apoE3 mice, and a worse retention in apoE2 mice compared to the other two genotypes. On the other hand, an increase in the exploration of an open-field, which is compatible with a hyperactive behavior, was found in apoE2 females, while a decreased activity was observed in apoE4 mice. Increased BDNF levels in the frontal cortex were observed in apoE2 mice compared to apoE3. These results underscore behavioral differences between apoE genotypes in young mice, as well as the existence of interactions between genotype and gender, providing new valuable information on the apoE2 genotype.