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Am J Pathol. 1994 Jun;144(6):1183-7.

Apolipoprotein E4 and beta amyloid in senile plaques and cerebral blood vessels of aged rhesus monkeys.

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Neurology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


Recent studies of late onset familial and sporadic Alzheimer's disease (AD) show a genetic disequilibrium between inheritance of the epsilon 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene and development of AD. beta-Amyloid (A beta)-positive senile plaques and blood vessels in AD are immunoreactive for ApoE, suggesting that ApoE plays a role in amyloid deposition. We examined the brains of nine rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) to determine the immunohistochemical distribution of ApoE and to investigate the association of ApoE with A beta in this species. Antibodies to ApoE and A beta labeled senile plaques and vessels in the brains of aged monkeys, indicating cross-species homogeneity of the association of these two proteins. Polymerase chain reaction/restriction enzyme analysis of the ApoE epsilon 3/epsilon 4 allelic site (residue 112) in the rhesus monkey revealed that the rhesus has an arginine at this site like the human epsilon 4 allele, the cynomolgus monkey, baboon, cow, pig, mouse, and rat but unlike the human epsilon 3 allele and the rabbit. These results emphasize the value of aged nonhuman primates as animal models for A beta deposition and ApoE4-A beta interactions in AD and aging.

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