The epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) is associated with sporadic and familial late-onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). Oxidative stress is believed to play an important role in neuronal dysfunction and cell death in AD. We now provide evidence that in the hippocampus of AD, the level of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) and the APOE genotype are linked. Within AD cases, the levels of TBARS were found to be higher among epsilon4 carriers while the apoE protein concentrations were lower. The relationship between the levels of TBARS and apoE proteins was corroborated by the results from the APOE-deficient mice, in which the levels of TBARS were higher than those in wild-type mice. Among AD cases, tissues from patients with the epsilon4 allele of APOE displayed lower activities of catalase and glutathione peroxidase and lower concentration of glutathione than tissues from patients homozygous for the epsilon3 allele of APOE. Together these data demonstrate that, in AD, the epsilon4 allele of APOE is associated with higher oxidative insults.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.