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J Mol Neurosci. 2004;23(3):205-12.

A dual role for apolipoprotein e in neuroinflammation: anti- and pro-inflammatory activity.

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Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


Chronically activated glia associated with amyloid plaques might contribute to neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (AD) through generation of neuroinflammatory molecules. Apolipoprotein E (apoE), also found associated with amyloid plaques, has been hypothesized to serve an anti-inflammatory role in the CNS through its ability to modulate beta-amyloid (Abeta)-induced glial activation. To further characterize the effect of apoE on inflammation, we examined the ability of exogenously added human apoE3 and apoE4 to modulate neuro inflammatory responses of cultured rat glia. Apolipoprotein E3 (apoE3) and apoE4 suppressed oligomeric Abeta-induced production of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclo-oxygenase-2, supporting an anti- inflammatory role for apoE. Exogenous apoE also inhibited Abeta-induced production of endogenous apoE. However, exogenous apoE in the absence of Abeta stimulated production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta in an isoform-dependent manner, with apoE4 inducing a significantly greater response than apoE3. These data support the idea that Abeta stimulation of glial apoE limits neuroinflammation but that overproduction of apoE by activated glia might exacerbate inflammation. In addition, the observation that apoE4 has more robust pro-inflammatory activity than apoE3 provides a mechanistic link between the APOE4 allele and AD, and suggests potential apoE-based therapeutic strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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