Obesity and sex interact in the regulation of Alzheimer's disease

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2016 Aug;67:102-18. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.08.021. Epub 2015 Dec 18.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, for which a number of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors have been identified. A significant modifiable risk factor is obesity in mid-life. Interestingly, both obesity and AD exhibit sex differences and are regulated by sex steroid hormones. Accumulating evidence suggests interactions between obesity and sex in regulation of AD risk, although the pathways underlying this relationship are unclear. Inflammation and the E4 allele of apolipoprotein E have been identified as independent risk factors for AD and both interact with obesity and sex steroid hormones. We review the individual and cooperative effects of obesity and sex on development of AD and examine the potential contributions of apolipoprotein E, inflammation, and their interactions to this relationship.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Apolipoprotein E; Estrogen; Inflammation; Obesity; Sex differences; Testosterone; β-amyloid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Humans
  • Obesity*
  • Risk Factors


  • Apolipoproteins E