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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 May 23;92(11):4725-7.

Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer disease.

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  • 1Department of Medicine (Neurology), Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


Inheritance of specific apolipoprotein E (apoE) alleles determines, in large part, the risk and mean age of onset of late-onset familial and sporadic Alzheimer disease. The mechanism by which the apoE isoforms differentially contribute to disease expression is, however, unknown. Isoform-specific differences have been identified in the binding of apoE to the microtubule-associated protein tau, which forms the paired helical filament and neurofibrillary tangles, and to amyloid beta peptide, a major component of the neuritic plaque. These and other isoform-specific interactions of apoE give rise to testable hypotheses for the mechanism(s) of pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease. An unresolved issue of increasing importance is the relationship between the structural pathological lesions and the cellular pathogenesis responsible for the clinical disease phenotype, progressive dementia. The identification of apoE in the cytoplasm of human neurons and the characterization of isoform-specific binding of apoE to the microtubule-associated proteins tau and MAP-2 present the possibility that apoE may affect microtubule function in the Alzheimer brain.

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