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J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Jun 30;53(4):1443-58. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160182.

Reversal of ApoE4-Driven Brain Pathology by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Treatment.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, The Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
2
Sackler School of Medicine, Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Abstract

Apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4), the most prevalent genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), is associated with increased neurodegeneration and vascular impairments. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), originally described as a key angiogenic factor, has recently been shown to play a crucial role in the nervous system. The objective of this research is to examine the role of VEGF in mediating the apoE4-driven pathologies. We show that hippocampal VEGF levels are lower in apoE4 targeted replacement mice compared to the corresponding apoE3 mice. This effect was accompanied by a specific decrease in both VEGF receptor-2 and HIF1-α. We next set to examine whether upregulation of VEGF can reverse apoE4-driven pathologies, namely the accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau (AT8) and Aβ42, and reduced levels of the pre-synaptic marker, VGluT1, and of the ApoE receptor, ApoER2. This was first performed utilizing intra-hippocampal injection of VEGF-expressing-lentivirus (LV-VEGF). This revealed that LV-VEGF treatment reversed the apoE4-driven cognitive deficits and synaptic pathologies. The levels of Aβ42 and AT8, however, were increased in apoE3 mice, masking any potential effects of this treatment on the apoE4 mice. Follow-up experiments utilizing VEGF-expressing adeno-associated-virus (AAV-VEGF), which expresses VEGF specifically under the GFAP astrocytic promoter, prevented this effects on apoE3 mice, and reversed the apoE4-related increase in Aβ42 and AT8. Taken together, these results suggest that apoE4-driven pathologies are mediated by a VEGF-dependent pathway, resulting in cognitive impairments and brain pathology. These animal model findings suggest that the VEGF system is a promising target for the treatment of apoE4 carriers in AD.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer’s disease; Morris water maze; apolipoprotein E4; behavior; hippocampus; lentivirus; object recognition; targeted replacement mice; vascular endothelial growth factor

PMID:
27372644
DOI:
10.3233/JAD-160182
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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