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Exp Neurol. 1995 Dec;136(2):107-22.

Neurodegeneration in the central nervous system of apoE-deficient mice.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093-0624, USA.


Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is involved in the development and regeneration of the central nervous system (CNS). ApoE may also be necessary to maintain the integrity of the synapto-dendritic complexity. We analyzed the synaptic alterations in the CNS of apoE-deficient (knockout) mice during the aging process. In apoE-deficient homozygous mice, there was an age-dependent 15 to 40% loss of synaptophysin-immunoreactive nerve terminals and microtubule-associated protein 2-immunoreactive dendrites in the neocortex and hippocampus, when compared to controls. Dendritic alterations were observed as early as 4 months of age. Ultrastructural analysis revealed extensive dendritic vacuolization and disruption of the endomembrane system and cytoskeleton in apoE-deficient homozygous mice. Further immunocytochemical studies of the neuronal cytoskeleton showed that in apoE-deficient mice there was a decrease in the immunoreactivity of alpha and beta tubulin (but not kinesin) in the cell bodies and processes. These results support the contention that apoE might play an important role in maintaining the stability of the synapto-dendritic apparatus and that altered or deficient functioning of this molecule could underlie the synaptic and cytoskeletal alterations in Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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