Apolipoprotein E4 (apoE4), the major genetic risk factor of Alzheimer's disease (AD), is associated with enhanced brain inflammation. Genome-wide gene expression profiling was employed to study the effects of apoE genotype on hippocampal gene expression in LPS-treated mice, transgenic for either apoE4 or the AD benign allele, apoE3. This revealed that the expression of inflammation-related genes following intracerebroventricular injection of LPS was significantly higher and more prolonged in apoE4 than in apoE3 transgenic mice. Clustering analysis revealed gene clusters which responded differently in apoE4 and apoE3 mice and were significantly enriched in NF-kappaB response elements. Direct measurement of NF-kappaB-regulated genes revealed that their extent of activation was greater in the apoE4 mice. Immunohistochemistry experiments revealed that microglial and NF-kappaB activation were more pronounced in apoE4 than in apoE3 mice. These findings suggest that the increased brain inflammation in apoE4 mice is related to disregulation of NF-kappaB signaling pathway.