Accumulation of β-amyloid (Aβ) in the brain is essential to Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathogenesis. Carriers of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele demonstrate greatly increased AD risk and enhanced brain Aβ deposition. In contrast, APOE ε2 allele carries show reduced AD risk, later age of disease onset, and lesser Aβ accumulation. However, it remains elusive whether the apoE2 isoform exerts truly protective effect against Aβ pathology or apoE2 plays deleterious role albeit less pronounced than the apoE4 isoform. Here, we characterized APPSW/PS1dE9/APOE ε2-TR (APP/E2) and APPSW/PS1dE9/APOE ε4-TR (APP/E4) mice, with targeted replacement (TR) of the murine Apoe for human ε2 or ε4 alleles, and used these models to investigate effects of pharmacological inhibition of the apoE/Aβ interaction on Aβ deposition and neuritic degeneration. APP/E2 and APP/E4 mice replicate differential effect of human apoE isoforms on Aβ pathology with APP/E4 mice showing a several-fold greater load of Aβ plaques, insoluble brain Aβ levels, Aβ oligomers, and density of neuritic plaques than APP/E2 mice. Furthermore, APP/E4 mice, but not APP/E2 mice, exhibit memory impairment on object recognition and radial arm maze tests. Between the age of 6 and 10 months APP/E2 and APP/E4 mice received treatment with Aβ12-28P, a non-toxic, synthetic peptide homologous to the apoE binding motif within the Aβ sequence, which competitively blocks the apoE/Aβ interaction. In both lines, the treatment significantly reduced brain Aβ accumulation, co-accumulation of apoE within Aβ plaques, and neuritic degeneration, and prevented memory deficit in APP/E4 mice. These results indicate that both apoE2 and apoE4 isoforms contribute to Aβ deposition and future therapies targeting the apoE/Aβ interaction could produce favorable outcome in APOE ε2 and ε4 allele carriers.
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