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Nat Med. 2004 Jul;10(7):719-26. Epub 2004 Jun 13.

Apolipoprotein E promotes astrocyte colocalization and degradation of deposited amyloid-beta peptides.

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Neuroscience Discovery Research, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285, USA.


We have previously shown that apolipoprotein E (Apoe) promotes the formation of amyloid in brain and that astrocyte-specific expression of APOE markedly affects the deposition of amyloid-beta peptides (Abeta) in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease. Given the capacity of astrocytes to degrade Abeta, we investigated the potential role of Apoe in this astrocyte-mediated degradation. In contrast to cultured adult wild-type mouse astrocytes, adult Apoe(-/-) astrocytes do not degrade Abeta present in Abeta plaque-bearing brain sections in vitro. Coincubation with antibodies to either Apoe or Abeta, or with RAP, an antagonist of the low-density lipoprotein receptor family, effectively blocks Abeta degradation by astrocytes. Phase-contrast and confocal microscopy show that Apoe(-/-) astrocytes do not respond to or internalize Abeta deposits to the same extent as do wild-type astrocytes. Thus, Apoe seems to be important in the degradation and clearance of deposited Abeta species by astrocytes, a process that may be impaired in Alzheimer disease.

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