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FASEB J. 2006 Apr;20(6):797-9. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

Neurotoxicity from innate immune response is greatest with targeted replacement of E4 allele of apolipoprotein E gene and is mediated by microglial p38MAPK.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA.


Inheritance of APOE alleles is associated with varying clinical outcomes in several neurodegenerative diseases that are associated with innate immune response in brain. We tested the hypothesis that inheritance of different APOE alleles would significantly modulate neurotoxicity arising from glial innate immune response. We first used dissociated cultures of wild-type (wt) murine neurons and glia derived from mice with targeted replacement (TR) of the epsilon2, epsilon3, or, epsilon4 APOE allele. Our results showed that the vast majority of bystander damage to wt neurons derived from microglia was greatest with TR APOE4 glia, intermediate from TR APOE3 glia, and least from TR APOE2 glia and preceded detectable NO secretion. Microglial p38MAPK-dependent cytokine secretion followed a similar pattern of TR APOE dependence. In hippocampal slice cultures, innate immune activation had a similar pattern of TR APOE-dependence and produced postsynaptic neuronal damage in TR APOE4 and TR APOE3 but not TR APOE2 cultures that was p38MAPK dependent. These findings suggest a new mechanism by which inheritance of different APOE alleles may influence the outcome of neurodegenerative diseases associated with microglial innate immune response.

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