Inheritance of the ε4 allele of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is the only confirmed and consistently replicated risk factor for late onset Alzheimer's disease (AD). ApoE is also a key ligand for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein (LRP), a major neuronal low-density lipoprotein receptor. Despite the considerable converging evidence that implicates ApoE and LRP in the pathogenesis of AD, the precise mechanism by which ApoE and LRP modulate the risk for AD remains elusive. Moreover, studies investigating expression of ApoE and LRP in AD brain have reported variable and contradictory results. To overcome these inconsistencies, we studied the mRNA expression of ApoE and LRP in the postmortem brain of persons who died at different stages of dementia and AD-associated neuropathology relative to controls by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blotting analyses. Clinical dementia rating scores were used as a measure of dementia severity, whereas, Braak neuropathological staging and neuritic plaque density were used as indexes of the neuropathological progression of AD. ApoE and LRP mRNA expression was significantly elevated in the postmortem inferior temporal gyrus (area 20) and the hippocampus from individuals with dementia compared with those with intact cognition. In addition to their strong association with the progression of cognitive dysfunction, LRP and ApoE mRNA levels were also positively correlated with increasing neuropathological hallmarks of AD. Additionally, Western blot analysis of ApoE protein expression in the hippocampus showed that the differential expression observed at the transcriptional level is also reflected at the protein level. Given the critical role played by LRP and ApoE in amyloid beta (Aβ) and cholesterol trafficking, increased expression of LRP and ApoE may not only disrupt cholesterol homeostasis but may also contribute to some of the neurobiological features of AD, including plaque deposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628.e1-628.e14
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • APOE
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia
  • Hippocampus
  • LRP


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