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J Virol. 2006 Jun;80(11):5383-7.

Effect of apolipoprotein E on the cerebral load of latent herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA.

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Lab CX340, Centro de Biología Molecular, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is neurotropic and enters a latent state lasting the lifetime of the host. This pathogen has recently been proposed as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD) in conjunction with apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4). In a murine acute infection model, we showed that viral neuroinvasiveness depends directly on the overall ApoE dosage and especially on the presence of isoform ApoE4. If an interaction between ApoE and HSV-1 is involved in AD, it may occur during latency rather than during acute infection. Certainly, ApoE plays an important role in late-onset AD, i.e., at a time in life when the majority of people harbor HSV-1 in their nervous system. In the present work, wild-type, APOE knockout, APOE3, and APOE4 transgenic mice were used to analyze the influence of the ApoE profile on the levels of latent virus DNA. The knockout mice had significantly lower concentrations of the virus in the nervous system than the wild-type mice, while the APOE4 mice had very high levels in the brain compared to the APOE3 animals. ApoE4 seems to facilitate HSV-1 latency in the brain much more so than ApoE3. The APOE dosage correlated directly with the HSV-1 DNA concentration in the brain, strengthening the hypothesis that HSV-1, together with ApoE, might be involved in AD.

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