Apolipoprotein E: Cholesterol metabolism and Alzheimer's pathology

Theresa Pohlkamp

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Today, due to an increase in global life expectancy, AD-related deaths are ranked as the sixth most common cause of death. The allele isoform ϵ4 of apolipoprotein E (ApoE4) is the most important genetic risk factor for AD. Three ApoE isoforms are common in humans: ApoE2, ApoE3, and ApoE4. ApoE3 is the most frequent isoform and considered neutral with regards to AD, whereas the isoform ApoE2 is protective. Thus it is important to understand how ApoE isoforms affect amyloid-β (Aβ) and tau toxicity, the key drivers of AD pathology. Aβ and tau accumulate to form the hallmarks of AD, plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, respectively. ApoE, primarily expressed by astrocytes, is the major lipid transporter in the brain. In this review I summarize some important historic and scientific aspects of our progress in understanding the role of the cholesterol transporter ApoE in the brain, and how the isoform ApoE4 contributes to AD pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • amyloid-β plaques
  • apolipoprotein receptor 2/ApoER2/LRP8
  • endosomal vesicle transport
  • hyperphosphorylated tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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