apolipopreotein E

Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer disease

    Inheritance of specific apolipoprotein E (apoE) alleles determines, in large part, the risk and mean age of onset of late-onset familial and sporadic Alzheimer disease. The mechanism by which the apoE isoforms differentially contribute to disease expression is, however, unknown. Isoform-specific differences have been identified in the binding of apoE to the microtubule-associated protein tau , which forms the paired helical filament and neurofibrillary tangles, and to amyloid beta peptide, a major component of the neuritic plaque. These and other isoform-specific interactions of apoE give rise to testable hypotheses for the mechanism(s) of pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. An unresolved issue of increasing importance is the relationship between the structural pathological lesions and the cellular pathogenesis responsible for the clinical disease phenotype, progressive dementia. The identification of apoE in the cytoplasm of human neurons and the characterization of isoform-specific binding of apoE to the microtubule-associated proteins tau and MAP-2 present the possibility that apoE may affect microtubule function in the Alzheimer brain.

Characterization of stable complexes involving apolipoprotein E and the amyloid beta peptide in Alzheimer's disease brain

        Genetic evidence suggests a role for apolipoprotein E (apoE) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) amyloidogenesis. Here, amyloid-associated apoE from 32 AD patients was purified and characterized. We found that brain amyloid-associated apoE apparently exists not as free molecules but as complexes with polymers of the amyloid beta peptide (A beta). Brain A beta-apoE complexes were detected irrespective of the apoE genotype, and similar complexes could be mimicked in vitro. The fine structure of purified A beta-apoE complexes was fibrillar, and immunogold labeling revealed apoE immunoreactivity along the fibrils. Thus, we conclude that A beta-apoE complexes are principal components of AD-associated brain amyloid and that the data presented here support a role for apoE in the pathogenesis of AD.