Roles of apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease: Lessons from ApoE mouse models

Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA.
Biochemical Society Transactions (Impact Factor: 3.19). 08/2011; 39(4):924-32. DOI: 10.1042/BST0390924
Source: PubMed


ApoE4 (apolipoprotein E4) is the major known genetic risk factor for AD (Alzheimer's disease). In most clinical studies, apoE4 carriers account for 65-80% of all AD cases, highlighting the importance of apoE4 in AD pathogenesis. Emerging data suggest that apoE4, with its multiple cellular origins and multiple structural and biophysical properties, contributes to AD in multiple ways either independently or in combination with other factors, such as Aβ (amyloid β-peptide) and tau. Many apoE mouse models have been established to study the mechanisms underlying the pathogenic actions of apoE4. These include transgenic mice expressing different apoE isoforms in neurons or astrocytes, those expressing neurotoxic apoE4 fragments in neurons and human apoE isoform knock-in mice. Since apoE is expressed in different types of cells, including astrocytes and neurons, and in brains under diverse physiological and/or pathophysiological conditions, these apoE mouse models provide unique tools to study the cellular source-dependent roles of apoE isoforms in neurobiology and in the pathogenesis of AD. They also provide useful tools for discovery and development of drugs targeting apoE4's detrimental effects.

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    • "The most common ApoE allele (APOE*3) is considered the normal allele exhibiting a neutral risk phenotype in the majority of the population. APOE*4, however, is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease [5,6] and is a risk factor for cognitive impairment in old age [7] and after stroke [4]. One of the mechanisms by which ApoE isoforms contribute to the outcome after central nervous system (CNS) insult is immunomodulation, as different ApoE isoforms have been shown to regulate both systemic and CNS inflammation [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Numerous clinical trials in stroke have failed, most probably partially due to preclinical studies using young, healthy male rodents with little relevance to the heterogenic conditions of human stroke. Co-morbid conditions such as atherosclerosis and infections coupled with advanced age are known to contribute to increased risk of cerebrovascular diseases. Clinical and preclinical studies have shown that the E4 allele of human apolipoprotein (ApoE4) is linked to poorer outcome in various conditions of brain injury and neurodegeneration, including cerebral ischemia. Since ApoE is a known regulator of lipid homeostasis, we studied the impact of a high-cholesterol diet in aged mice in the context of relevant human ApoE isoforms on the outcome of focal brain ischemia. Aged mice expressing human E3 and E4 isoforms of ApoE in C57BL/6J background and C57BL/6J mice fed on either a high-fat diet or a normal diet underwent permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion. The impact of a high-cholesterol diet was assessed by measuring the serum cholesterol level and the infarction volume was determined by magnetic resonance imaging. Sensorimotor deficits were assessed using an adhesive removal test and the findings were correlated with inflammatory markers. We show that expression of human ApoE4 renders aged mice fed with a western-type diet more susceptible to sensorimotor deficits upon stroke. These deficits are not associated with atherosclerosis but are accompanied with altered astroglial activation, neurogenesis, cyclooxygenase-2 immunoreactivity and increased plasma IL-6. Our results support the hypothesis that ApoE alleles modify the inflammatory responses in the brain and the periphery, thus contributing to altered functional outcome following stroke.
    Journal of Neuroinflammation 08/2013; 10(1):102. DOI:10.1186/1742-2094-10-102 · 5.41 Impact Factor
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    • "The E4 allele has been identified as a risk factor for AD in late-onset families [11]. Individuals with one copy (15% of total population) or two copies (2% of total population) of the E4 allele have an increased chance of developing AD by, respectively, 3 times and 10-20 times, compared to those not carrying any E4 alleles [11, 12]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Animal models of Alzheimer disease (AD) are used to study the mechanisms underlying AD pathogenesis, genetic interactions with genes of interest, and environmental risk factors that cause sporadic AD as well as to test the therapeutic effects of AD drug-candidates on neuropathology and cognitive function. To attain a comparative view on the AD models developed, representative AD lines were selected and summarized with respect to transgenic constructs and AD-related pathology. In addition, age-dependent plaque deposition data available in the literature for six representative AD models such as Tg2576, PDAPP, TgAPP23, Tg-APPswe/PS1dE9, 3xTg-AD, and 5XFAD mice were reevaluated using a photographic plaque reference scale method that was introduced recently. Tg2576, PDAPP, and TgAPP23 mice, which carry the amyloid precursor protein (APP) transgene, produced initially slow, but progressively accelerated plaque deposition as they aged, resulting in logistic plaque deposition. In contrast, Tg-APPswe/PS1dE9 and 3xTg-AD mice, which carry both APP and PS1 transgenes, developed abruptly accelerated plaque formation from the beginning, resulting in logarithmic plaque deposition. 5XFAD mice, which also carry both the APP and PS1 transgenes, developed a logarithmic deposition beginning at 2 months. This comparative analysis suggests that AD models may be classified into two distinct plaque deposition groups, and that early plaque models such as APPswe/PS1dE9, 3xTg-AD and 5XFAD might be useful to study the biochemical aspects of APP metabolism, whereas late plaque models such as Tg2576, PDAPP, and TgAPP23 might be useful to study more physiological and environmental aspects of AD pathogenesis, which occur on a longer time scale.
    06/2013; 22(2):84-95. DOI:10.5607/en.2013.22.2.84
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    ABSTRACT: The presence of the E4 allele of apolipoprotein E (apoE) is the strongest known genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD). Other risk factors for developing AD have been identified, including lifestyle such as dietary habits. The present study was designed to explore the impact of the interaction between variant human apoE isoforms and a high carbohydrate diet (HCD) on mechanisms behind learning and memory retention. As an investigative model, we compared young apoE3 and apoE4 target replacement mice fed on a HCD for 6 months. Our results indicate that HCD compromises memory processes in apoE4 mice. ApoE4 mice on HCD showed decreased activity-regulated cytoskeletal-associated protein (Arc) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, as well as decreased BDNF signaling in the hippocampus. In contrast, apoE3 mice were resistant to the deleterious effects of HCD on both behavior and memory-related proteins. Our results support the hypothesis that already in mid-life, genetic, and environmental risk factors act together on the mechanisms behind cognitive impairment.
    Journal of Alzheimer's disease: JAD 07/2012; 32(2):341-55. DOI:10.3233/JAD-2012-120697 · 4.15 Impact Factor
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