Olfactory function in apoE knockout mice

Behav Brain Res. 2004 Apr 2;150(1-2):1-7. doi: 10.1016/S0166-4328(03)00219-5.


Apolipoprotein E (apoE), a lipid transporting protein, has been shown to play a vital role in nerve repair and remodeling. Since the olfactory system is in a continuous state of remodeling, the present study tested the hypothesis that apoE is required for normal functioning of the olfactory system. Olfactory behavior of wild-type (WT) and apoE-deficient (apoE KO) mice was assessed by using three standard olfactory tests: (1) the buried food pellet (BFP) test; (2) the odor choice (OC) test; and (3) the odor cued taste avoidance (OCTA) test. ApoE KO mice performed poorly in all the three tests as compared to WT mice, although they learned the tasks at a rate comparable to WT mice. ApoE KO mice had a significantly longer latency to find the buried pellet than WT mice. In the OC experiment, apoE KO mice did not differentiate water from an odorant solution. Furthermore, in the OCTA test the apoE KO mice were significantly less successful than WT mice at avoiding water containing an odorant and a bad tastant. These data demonstrate that apoE deficiency in apoE KO mice leads to a deficit in olfactory function, suggesting an important role for apoE in the olfactory system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / physiology*
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Cues
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Odorants
  • Smell / genetics*
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Apolipoproteins E