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: 3.24). 08/2011; 39(4):924-32. DOI: 10.1042/BST0390924
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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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