Loss of Lipid Carrier ApoE Exacerbates Brain Glial and Inflammatory Responses after Lysosomal GBA1 Inhibition

Cells. 2023 Nov 2;12(21):2564. doi: 10.3390/cells12212564.


Tightly regulated and highly adaptive lipid metabolic and transport pathways are critical to maintaining brain cellular lipid homeostasis and responding to lipid and inflammatory stress to preserve brain function and health. Deficits in the lipid handling genes APOE and GBA1 are the most significant genetic risk factors for Lewy body dementia and related dementia syndromes. Parkinson's disease patients who carry both APOE4 and GBA1 variants have accelerated cognitive decline compared to single variant carriers. To investigate functional interactions between brain ApoE and GBA1, in vivo GBA1 inhibition was tested in WT versus ApoE-deficient mice. The experiments demonstrated glycolipid stress caused by GBA1 inhibition in WT mice induced ApoE expression in several brain regions associated with movement and dementia disorders. The absence of ApoE in ApoE-KO mice amplified complement C1q elevations, reactive microgliosis and astrocytosis after glycolipid stress. Mechanistically, GBA1 inhibition triggered increases in cell surface and intracellular lipid transporters ABCA1 and NPC1, respectively. Interestingly, the absence of NPC1 in mice also triggered elevations of brain ApoE levels. These new data show that brain ApoE, GBA1 and NPC1 functions are interconnected in vivo, and that the removal or reduction of ApoE would likely be detrimental to brain function. These results provide important insights into brain ApoE adaptive responses to increased lipid loads.

Keywords: APOE; Alzheimer’s disease; GBA1; Lewy body dementia; Parkinson’s disease; cholesterol; glia; inflammation; lipids; lysosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Brain* / metabolism
  • Glucosylceramidase* / genetics
  • Glucosylceramidase* / metabolism
  • Glycolipids / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Mice


  • Glucosylceramidase
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Glycolipids