Apolipoprotein E4 produced in GABAergic interneurons causes learning and memory deficits in mice

J Neurosci. 2014 Oct 15;34(42):14069-78. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2281-14.2014.


Apolipoprotein (apo) E4 is expressed in many types of brain cells, is associated with age-dependent decline of learning and memory in humans, and is the major genetic risk factor for AD. To determine whether the detrimental effects of apoE4 depend on its cellular sources, we generated human apoE knock-in mouse models in which the human APOE gene is conditionally deleted in astrocytes, neurons, or GABAergic interneurons. Here we report that deletion of apoE4 in astrocytes does not protect aged mice from apoE4-induced GABAergic interneuron loss and learning and memory deficits. In contrast, deletion of apoE4 in neurons does protect aged mice from both deficits. Furthermore, deletion of apoE4 in GABAergic interneurons is sufficient to gain similar protection. This study demonstrates a detrimental effect of endogenously produced apoE4 on GABAergic interneurons that leads to learning and memory deficits in mice and provides a novel target for drug development for AD related to apoE4.

Keywords: GABAergic interneuron; apoE; astrocyte; conditional knock-out mice; learning and memory.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein E4 / biosynthesis*
  • Female
  • GABAergic Neurons / metabolism*
  • GABAergic Neurons / pathology
  • Humans
  • Interneurons / metabolism*
  • Interneurons / pathology
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Memory Disorders / metabolism*
  • Memory Disorders / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Apolipoprotein E4