APOE ε2 is associated with increased tau pathology in primary tauopathy

Na Zhao, Chia Chen Liu, Alexandra J. Van Ingelgom, Cynthia Linares, Aishe Kurti, Joshua A. Knight, Michael G. Heckman, Nancy N. Diehl, Mitsuru Shinohara, Yuka A. Martens, Olivia N. Attrebi, Leonard Petrucelli, John D. Fryer, Zbigniew K. Wszolek, Neill R. Graff-Radford, Richard J. Caselli, Monica Y. Sanchez-Contreras, Rosa Rademakers, Melissa E. Murray, Shunsuke KogaDennis W. Dickson, Owen A. Ross, Guojun Bu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele is the strongest genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease mainly by modulating amyloid-β pathology. APOE ε4 is also shown to exacerbate neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in a tau transgenic mouse model. To further evaluate the association of APOE genotype with the presence and severity of tau pathology, we express human tau via an adeno-associated virus gene delivery approach in human APOE targeted replacement mice. We find increased hyperphosphorylated tau species, tau aggregates, and behavioral abnormalities in mice expressing APOE ε2/ε2. We also show that in humans, the APOE ε2 allele is associated with increased tau pathology in the brains of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) cases. Finally, we identify an association between the APOE ε2/ε2 genotype and risk of tauopathies using two series of pathologically-confirmed cases of PSP and corticobasal degeneration. Our data together suggest APOE ε2 status may influence the risk and progression of tauopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4388
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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