Recent studies suggest that apolipoprotein E (apoE) might play a neurotrophic function in the central nervous system and that altered functioning of this molecule could result in neurodegeneration. The main objective of this study was to determine if neurodegenerative and cognitive alterations in apoE-deficient mice are reversible by infusion of recombinant apoE into the lateral ventricles. ApoE-deficient mice treated with either apoE3 or apoE4 showed a significant improvement in their learning capacity in the Morris water maze compared to saline-infused apoE-deficient mice. While this improved performance was associated with restoration of neuronal structure, the poor learning ability of apoE-deficient mice treated with saline correlated with the disrupted synapto-dendritic structure. This study supports the contention that apoE might play a neurotrophic effect in vivo and suggests that apoE might have a potential therapeutic role.