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Neurotox Res. 2019 Feb;35(2):291-303. doi: 10.1007/s12640-018-9954-7. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Development of a Human APOE Knock-in Mouse Model for Study of Cognitive Function After Cancer Chemotherapy.

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Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
Department of Oncology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.


Cancer-related cognitive impairment in breast cancer patients exposed to multi-agent chemotherapy regimens is associated with the apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) allele. However, it is difficult to determine the effects of specific agents on cognitive impairment in human studies. We describe the development of a human APOE knock-in congenic C57BL/6J mouse model to study cancer-related cognitive impairment. Female APOE3 and APOE4 homozygous mice were either left untreated or treated with the most commonly used breast cancer therapeutic agent, doxorubicin. APOE3 and APOE4 mice had similar behaviors in exploratory and anxiety assays, which were affected transiently by doxorubicin treatment. Spatial learning and memory were measured in a Barnes maze: after 4 days of training, control APOE3 and APOE4 mice were able to escape with similar latencies. In contrast, doxorubicin-treated APOE4 mice had markedly impaired learning compared to doxorubicin-treated APOE3 mice at all time points. Voxel-based morphometry of magnetic resonance images revealed that doxorubicin treatment caused significant changes in the cortex and hippocampus of in both APOE3 and APOE4 mouse brains, but the differences were significantly greater in the APOE4 brains. The results indicate that doxorubicin-exposed APOE4 mice recapitulate key aspects of human cancer-related cognitive impairment. These data support the usefulness of this novel preclinical model for future elucidation of the genetic and molecular interactions of APOE genotype with chemotherapy; this model can also allow extension to prospective studies of older mice to study these interactions in the context of aging.


APOE; Cancer-related cognitive decline; Chemotherapy; Preclinical model

[Available on 2020-02-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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