Importance: Sporadic Alzheimer disease (AD) is caused in part by decreased clearance of the β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide breakdown products. Lipid-depleted (LD) apolipoproteins are less effective at binding and clearing Aβ, and LD Aβ peptides are more toxic to neurons. However, not much is known about the lipid states of these proteins in human cerebrospinal fluid.
Objective: To characterize the lipidation states of Aβ peptides and apolipoprotein E in the cerebrospinal fluid in adults with respect to cognitive diagnosis and APOE ε4 allele carrier status and after a dietary intervention.
Design: Randomized clinical trial.
Setting: Veterans Affairs Medical Center clinical research unit.
Participants: Twenty older adults with normal cognition (mean [SD] age, 69  years) and 27 with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (67  years).
Interventions: Randomization to a diet high in saturated fat content and with a high glycemic index (High diet; 45% of energy from fat [>25% saturated fat], 35%-40% from carbohydrates with a mean glycemic index >70, and 15%-20% from protein) or a diet low in saturated fat content and with a low glycemic index (Low diet; 25% of energy from fat [<7% saturated fat], 55%-60% from carbohydrates with a mean glycemic index <55, and 15%-20% from protein).
Main outcomes and measures: Lipid-depleted Aβ42 and Aβ40 and apolipoprotein E in cerebrospinal fluid.
Results: Baseline levels of LD Aβ were greater for adults with mild cognitive impairment compared with adults with normal cognition (LD Aβ42, P = .05; LD Aβ40, P = .01). These findings were magnified in adults with mild cognitive impairment and the ε4 allele, who had higher LD apolipoprotein E levels irrespective of cognitive diagnosis (P < .001). The Low diet tended to decrease LD Aβ levels, whereas the High diet increased these fractions (LD Aβ42, P = .01; LD Aβ40, P = .15). Changes in LD Aβ levels with the Low diet negatively correlated with changes in cerebrospinal fluid levels of insulin (LD Aβ42 and insulin, r = -0.68 [P = .01]; LD Aβ40 and insulin, r = -0.78 [P = .002]).
Conclusions and relevance: The lipidation states of apolipoproteins and Aβ peptides in the brain differ depending on APOE genotype and cognitive diagnosis. Concentrations can be modulated by diet. These findings may provide insight into the mechanisms through which apolipoprotein E4 and unhealthy diets impart risk for developing AD.