Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer Disease: Risk, Mechanisms and Therapy

Nat Rev Neurol. 2013 Feb;9(2):106-18. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2012.263. Epub 2013 Jan 8.

Abstract

Apolipoprotein E (Apo-E) is a major cholesterol carrier that supports lipid transport and injury repair in the brain. APOE polymorphic alleles are the main genetic determinants of Alzheimer disease (AD) risk: individuals carrying the ε4 allele are at increased risk of AD compared with those carrying the more common ε3 allele, whereas the ε2 allele decreases risk. Presence of the APOE ε4 allele is also associated with increased risk of cerebral amyloid angiopathy and age-related cognitive decline during normal ageing. Apo-E-lipoproteins bind to several cell-surface receptors to deliver lipids, and also to hydrophobic amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, which is thought to initiate toxic events that lead to synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration in AD. Apo-E isoforms differentially regulate Aβ aggregation and clearance in the brain, and have distinct functions in regulating brain lipid transport, glucose metabolism, neuronal signalling, neuroinflammation, and mitochondrial function. In this Review, we describe current knowledge on Apo-E in the CNS, with a particular emphasis on the clinical and pathological features associated with carriers of different Apo-E isoforms. We also discuss Aβ-dependent and Aβ-independent mechanisms that link Apo-E4 status with AD risk, and consider how to design effective strategies for AD therapy by targeting Apo-E.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Apolipoproteins E / metabolism
  • Apolipoproteins E / physiology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / genetics
  • Brain Injuries / physiopathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / pathology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Dementia / genetics
  • Dementia / physiopathology
  • Dendritic Spines / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Neurogenesis / genetics
  • Neurogenesis / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk
  • Vascular Diseases / genetics
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • tau Proteins / metabolism

Substances

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • tau Proteins