Apolipoprotein E and neuromuscular disease: a critical review of the literature

Arch Neurol. 2000 Nov;57(11):1561-5. doi: 10.1001/archneur.57.11.1561.


Molecular mechanisms that alter the incidence and rate of neuromuscular disease progression are, in many cases, only partially understood. Several recent studies have asked whether apolipoprotein E (apoE for the protein, APOE for the gene) influences these aspects of specific neuromuscular disorders, as it does in central nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer disease. Although these studies are open to methodological criticism, several interesting trends have emerged. First, the APOE4 allele seems to be associated with an increased risk for developing certain neuromuscular diseases, including diabetic neuropathy and human immunodeficiency viral neuropathy. Second, this allele appears to be associated with faster progression of some neuromuscular diseases, including diabetic neuropathy and possibly motor neuron disease. Third, the APOE2 allele seems to confer protection against developing certain neuromuscular diseases, including the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/parkinsonism/dementia complex of Guam. Finally, this allele is associated with a better prognosis in neuromuscular diseases such as motor neuron disease. The effect of various APOE alleles on neuromuscular diseases therefore parallels their influence on central nervous system diseases. Arch Neurol. 2000;57:1561-1565

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / metabolism
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Apolipoproteins E / metabolism*
  • Dementia / metabolism
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / metabolism
  • Disease Progression
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Motor Neuron Disease / metabolism
  • Myositis, Inclusion Body / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Prognosis
  • Research Design
  • Risk


  • Apolipoproteins E