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Mol Cells. 2019 Nov 30;42(11):739-746. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2019.0200.

ApoE4-Induced Cholesterol Dysregulation and Its Brain Cell Type-Specific Implications in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science & Technology (DGIST), Daegu 42988, Korea.


Significant knowledge about the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been gained in the last century; however, the understanding of its causes of onset remains limited. Late-onset AD is observed in about 95% of patients, and APOE4-encoding apolipoprotein E4 (ApoE4) is strongly associated with these cases. As an apolipoprotein, the function of ApoE in brain cholesterol transport has been extensively studied and widely appreciated. Development of new technologies such as human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing tools have enabled us to develop human brain model systems in vitro and readily manipulate genomic information. In the context of these advances, recent studies provide strong evidence that abnormal cholesterol metabolism by ApoE4 could be linked to AD-associated pathology. In this review, we discuss novel discoveries in brain cholesterol dysregulation by ApoE4. We further elaborate cell type-specific roles in cholesterol regulation of four major brain cell types, neurons, astrocytes, microglia, and oligodendrocytes, and how its dysregulation can be linked to AD pathology.


Alzheimer’s disease; ApoE4; Aβ; apolipoprotein; cholesterol

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