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Acta Neuropathol. 1994;88(5):413-9.

Presence of apolipoprotein E on extracellular neurofibrillary tangles and on meningeal blood vessels precedes the Alzheimer beta-amyloid deposition.

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College of Medical Care and Technology, Gunma University, Japan.


The localization of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) has been examined immunohistochemically in the autopsied brains of middle-aged and old-aged control subjects, with and without amyloid beta protein (A beta) deposits, and of Alzheimer's disease patients. Senile plaques were consistently labeled with ApoE antiserum even in the very early stage of senile plaque formation seen in the fifth decade. In the cerebellar molecular layer, small dots of ApoE immunoreactivity, which were prominent in the Alzheimer's disease subjects, were observed in addition to immunoreactivity in diffuse plaques. ApoE antisera labeled all of the extracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), whereas only a small minority of extracellular NFT were positive for A beta. A punctate pattern of ApoE immunoreactivity was seen at the media of the meningeal vessels lacking amyloid, when senile plaques were present in the nearby cortex. In the early stage of amyloid angiopathy, the distribution of ApoE immunoreactivity was much more extensive than that of A beta positivity. These findings suggest that ApoE accumulates in the early stage of senile plaque formation and, furthermore, that ApoE accumulation precedes A beta deposition in extracellular NFT and amyloid angiopathy.

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