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Neuroscience. 1998 Jul;85(1):93-110.

Behavioural, physiological and morphological analysis of a line of apolipoprotein E knockout mouse.

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Neuroscience Unit, Glaxo Wellcome Research and Development, Medicines, Research Centre, Stevenage, Herts, UK.


Using apolipoprotein E knockout mice derived from the Maeda source [Piedrahita J. A. et al. (1992) Proc. natn. Acad Sci. US.A. 89, 4471 4475], we have studied the influence of apolipoprotein E gene deletion on normal CNS function by neurological tests and water maze learning, hippocampal ultrastructure assessed by quantitative immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, CNS plasticity, i.e. hippocampal long-term potentiation and amygdaloid kindling, and CNS repair, i.e. synaptic recovery in the hippocampus following deafferentation. In each study there was little difference between the apolipoprotein E knockout mice and wild-type controls of similar age and genetic background. Apolipoprotein E knockout mice aged eight months demonstrated accurate spatial learning and normal neurological function. Synaptophysin and microtubule-associated protein 2 immunohistochemistry and electron microscopic analysis of these animals revealed that the hippocampal synaptic and dendritic densities were similar between genotypes. The induction and maintenance of kindled seizures and hippocampal long-term potentiation were indistinguishable between groups. Finally, unilateral entorhinal cortex lesions produced a marked loss of hippocampal synaptophysin immunoreactivity in both groups and a marked up-regulation of apolipoprotein E in the wild-type group. Both apolipoprotein E knockout and wild-type groups showed immunohistochemical evidence of reactive synaptogenesis, although the apolipoprotein E knockout group may have initially shown greater synaptic loss. It is suggested that either apolipoprotein E is of no importance in the maintenance of synaptic integrity and in processes of CNS plasticity and repair, or more likely, alternative (apolipo)proteins may compensate for the loss of apolipoprotein E in the knockout animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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