Apolipoprotein E is a key regulator of plasma lipid levels. Our appreciation of its role continues to expand as additional aspects of its function are discovered. Apolipoprotein E affects the levels of all lipoproteins, either directly or indirectly by modulating their receptor-mediated clearance or lipolytic processing and the production of hepatic very low density lipoproteins. Furthermore, it plays a critical role in neurobiology. The apolipoprotein E4 allele is the major susceptibility gene related to the occurrence and early age of onset of Alzheimer's disease. It is probable that one of the major functions of apolipoprotein E in the central nervous system is to mediate neuronal repair, remodeling, and protection, with apolipoprotein E4 being less effective than the E3 and E2 alleles. The isoform-specific effects of apolipoprotein E are currently being unraveled through detailed structure and function studies of this protein.