Apolipoprotein E as a Therapeutic Target in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Review of Basic Research and Clinical Evidence

Yu Yamazaki, Meghan M. Painter, Guojun Bu, Takahisa Kanekiyo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder that causes progressive cognitive decline. The majority of AD cases are sporadic and late-onset (>65 years old) making it the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. While both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of late-onset AD (LOAD), APOE polymorphism is a major genetic risk determinant for LOAD. In humans, the APOE gene has three major allelic variants: ε2, ε3, and ε4, of which APOE ε4 is the strongest genetic risk factor for LOAD, whereas APOE ε2 is protective. Mounting evidence suggests that APOE ε4 contributes to AD pathogenesis through multiple pathways including facilitated amyloid-β deposition, increased tangle formation, synaptic dysfunction, exacerbated neuroinflammation, and cerebrovascular defects. Since APOE modulates multiple biological processes through its corresponding protein apolipoprotein E (apoE), APOE gene and apoE properties have been a promising target for therapy and drug development against AD. In this review, we summarize the current evidence regarding how the APOE ε4 allele contributes to the pathogenesis of AD and how relevant therapeutic approaches can be developed to target apoE-mediated pathways in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-789
Number of pages17
JournalCNS Drugs
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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