ApoE Lipidation as a Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer's Disease

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Sep 1;21(17):6336. doi: 10.3390/ijms21176336.


Apolipoprotein E (APOE) is the major cholesterol carrier in the brain, affecting various normal cellular processes including neuronal growth, repair and remodeling of membranes, synaptogenesis, clearance and degradation of amyloid β (Aβ) and neuroinflammation. In humans, the APOE gene has three common allelic variants, termed E2, E3, and E4. APOE4 is considered the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), whereas APOE2 is neuroprotective. To perform its normal functions, apoE must be secreted and properly lipidated, a process influenced by the structural differences associated with apoE isoforms. Here we highlight the importance of lipidated apoE as well as the APOE-lipidation targeted therapeutic approaches that have the potential to correct or prevent neurodegeneration. Many of these approaches have been validated using diverse cellular and animal models. Overall, there is great potential to improve the lipidated state of apoE with the goal of ameliorating APOE-associated central nervous system impairments.

Keywords: apolipoprotein E; cholesterol; lipid homeostasis; neurodegeneration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / chemistry*
  • Apolipoproteins E / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*


  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Lipids
  • Neuroprotective Agents